Monthly Archives: April 2013

Wild Ramps, Milk Snake and Honey Bees at Bee Branch Farm

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Our Bee Branch Farm hike was full of discoveries on this lovely spring day.  Native wildflowers blanketed the forest floor, and we enjoyed the fresh earthiness of wild ramps plucked from the rich soil.  Landon found his first native milk snake, and Tillie loved “the hunt.”  Upon return home, we watched as Glenn transferred our two new nucs of mountain bees to their hives.  They are busy making their home on Bee Branch Farm.  It was a beautiful day shared with friends.

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No bull – this was my day!

Roll out of bed, open the shade to stretch and greet the early morning.  Stop mid stretch while my eyes readjust to verify two tons of Black Angus bull staring back at me.  With only tender vegetable plants on my mind, I rush out bare feet and pajamas to move the three bulls away from the garden.  I stop short in front of them, next to the chickens; if I didn’t know that bulls were vegetarian, I would think that they were pondering a few tasty hens.  As I stand firm, challenging them, they simply stare back at me.  How do I move two tons of bull?  More importantly, how do I move them in the direction that I want them to go and without them challenging me.  I grab an old tobacco stick that we use to mark rows in the garden, and I hope that they don’t feel the need to make me use this because it will easily break and it will mean that I am way too close since it is only a couple of feet long.  I convince them to move on to an acceptable place in the yard where they can graze as I call in reinforcements to drive them back where they belong.

The bulls apparently enjoyed a very early morning romp through all my gardens, both flower gardens and most disappointingly the vegetable garden as well.  One bull is close to a ton and the other two are well over 1000 pounds, you can imagine the damage they can do wherever they walk, which was down a row of beets and through the onions with other steps just grazing the sides of the vegetable gardens and not too much damage in the flower beds, amazingly, since they tromped right through the middle of both of them.  All in all, I was lucky compared to what it could have been, but I did mourn those lovely tender beets.

Ironically, we were discussing a garden fence the previous night because of cute little bunnies who love the peas so much that they have eaten all of them.  You will have to take the bunnies word for it that they were oh so tender and sweet!  They seem to enjoy nibbling on broccoli as well so we added another row cover until we get up a fence.  The fence we need to keep out bunnies and groundhogs and raccoons isn’t necessarily going to keep out two tons of determined bull, but you do what you can and go with it.  And no fence is going to keep out the moles and voles.

Later in the day, while weeding the garden I hear a lot of snorting and huffing coming from the bull pasture next to our driveway.  As I walk over the hill to gain a better view, I see two of the new, younger bulls making a ruckus, and I see our neighbors cows gathering along the edge of their fence.  Uh oh…I start down the hill with the plan to drive the bulls away from the fence and hope they will cool off in their lustfulness, but that was one wild and determined bull.  He jumped the fence!  And with one quick “hrrumph” look in my direction, took off toward the promised land.

Congrats to Addison Farms Vineyard! Cheers to Coming Home…

Jeff and Diane of Addison Farms Vineyard have recently bottled their first Cabernet Sauvignon from their own vineyard, and it will be available very soon.  It is aptly named Coming Home.  We were fortunate to have a preview tasting today, and this Cabernet was wonderfully distinct with the subtle aromas and flavors of our rich terroir. I love it! This small batch production will go quickly; don’t miss out.

Close your eyes, breathe deeply and savor the taste and aromas of home.

For those of you who really want a true terroir wine experience, head on out to volunteer and help Jeff and Diane plant the new grapes on the last weekend in April. You will learn a lot, have fun, and make new friends. Contact Jeff to volunteer.