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Spring in Cecil County, and PASA Pastured Pork

Spring is really here now, and everything is blooming and green in a way that is very different from the spring of California. Spring in California is the last hurrah of the green things, warm, beginning to dry out, and full of overwhelming floral scents. Here it smells like rain, and ushers in the kingdom of the green for the rest of the year. All the fruit trees are full of blossoms, and the stink bugs are everywhere–which is a bad thing for the fruit trees I think. In the woods the dogwoods are blooming wedding-white, and in the garden everything is sprouting–and while I write this, in the firepit by our trailer, a groundhog is eating something. Coals? Maybe he is sharpening his teeth on the stones around the edge, the better to eat my garden? Hope not. He looks just like a fat little stone himself.

Here are a couple pics from a central Pennsylvania farm where we went to learn about pastured pigs this last Saturday at a PASA conference. Their Tamworth pigs looked healthy and happy–and intimidatingly ginormous, particularly the boar and sows in the woods. The farmers pointed out that the pigs are “the most dangerous animal on [their] farm”, and when you watch them having a brief tousle over the food bowl, you certainly don’t feel like reaching in and trying to pet one.031

Part way through there was a wonderful potluck lunch. We ate between a pony someone had tethered to a tree, and a couple Amish farmers who had brought to share The Best Butter we’ve had in a long time with homemade bread and jam, and some Pretty Dang Tasty cheese. All the dishes were exceptionally good; dessert was wonderful, particularly the pastured dairy farmer’s ice cream. . .turned out he went to UCDavis, and thinks that “no one should farm in CA, there’s no water!” Ha, I don’t know about that, but I do agree the farming should be different there, much more water conservative than it is now.
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It was a lovely day, and we ended it by having dinner in Lancaster on the way home. Lancaster the city, unlike Lancaster the county, is pretty hip and urban–and very fascinating as such. It was more urban than Sacramento, CA (kind of funny every time we realize how small-town Sac is), and we think we may stop there again to get a “city fix” at some point. But, about 6 miles out of the city, you pass Amish buggies trotting down the side of the highway–not much in the way of suburbs, which is great. At least from what we saw.

This is what Mol calls The Princess Tree, which from a distance looks like it is fruiting cotton candy. Really it’s a flowering cherry, but it’s also the girls’ favorite because they can climb into the low branches and pick flowers. It doesn’t have the sweet aroma of a fruit tree, but it’s awfully pretty. The real cherry trees are out in the field, and will require a big ladder to harvest. . .harvest time being something I am looking forward to more than most things! Cherries. . .013
Happy Tempus Vernum!

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2 thoughts on “Spring in Cecil County, and PASA Pastured Pork

  1. Beautiful Melissa! Those UC Davis people are always critical, :P, You will have come back to California and farm the way it should be done. 🙂 Keep writing, its so good to read these.

    Love you!

  2. It sounds like you are feeling better! Butter on your bread: ) I love the picture of you and Molly walking in the field. And the tree is beautiful. I’m glad that the farmers cautioned about their pigs being dangerous, a lot of people don’t realize that. We are really missing you-but you are probably tired of hearing that. But I am very happy that you are experiencing life in the country.

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