Farm, Lambing, Recipes, Vermont

Lambing/Ramping Season

On this end of April I’m always overtired and at the same time, extremely energized.  New growth in the form of colts’ foot, daffodils, dandelions, early tulips, the Star Magnolia.  Leaves are starting to form from the swollen buds that appear overnight during a few warm days, the water buckets aren’t frozen in the morning, I plant my lettuce and spinach and peas.  The ramps are ready, Spring Beauties and fuzzy fiddleheads can be spied in the leafy litter of the woodland floor.

There are 12 new Shetland lambs from 6 mamas:  8 ewe lambs and 4 ram lambs.  Healthy and nursing, mamas healing from labor and delivery.

Two fine-wools are due soon, Laurel & Martha.  But Martha might just be fat.  And I say that because of the observance of her sway-belly, non-baby-bump profile.  It’s o.k.. I still love her.  We’ll see.  I’ve certainly been wrong before.

Hester has delivered a still-born ewe lamb, Hannah, whom she was finally ready to let go of on Friday night.  I buried her during sunset and placed a bouquet on her grave near the daffodils and Padme’s still-born ram lamb from last spring. It is heartbreaking, but I am at least encouraged to be able to lay her to rest with freshly picked blooms.

The Angora does are due in May, I get a chance to breathe and catch up on sleep for about a week.

The ramps are ready.  My daughter Char likens it to a spiritual experience, going out into the early spring woods and discovering the green amongst the brown from winter.  You’re hiking along and the pups run and bound in and out of view, chasing squirrels and sounds in the trees.  You’ve got your bags, or baskets, you’ve got a spoon in your pocket for digging a few.  A pocket knife for cutting the pungent greens from the base in the soil.  When the sun is right, the warmth lifts the scent of wild leeks and you walk into the waft of the first forage of the season.

I took friend Meleen, who has had an especially trying spring, on a ramp-foraging outing and it was medicine for our souls.

We make pesto, we sauté and eat them straight up with salt and pepper, we mince them and create quiches, soups, pizza toppings, adding life to our meals left and right.  The greens are sweet when sauteed, fiery & sinus-clearing when fresh.

Nothing asks for a celebration of small plates & life like ramps & lambs in the spring.

Sweet Dot, second born Shetland ewe lamb born to Paisley on April 9th, 2016
Sweet Dot, second born Shetland ewe lamb to Paisley on April 9th, 2016, Photo credit: Charlotte Lyons
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Spring Beauties
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Fuzzy fiddlehead ferns
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Jackie, companion to Meleen, foraging on a beautiful April day
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Ramp & Bacon Quiche and Cream of Ramp Soup