The windows are open. The laundry is on the clothesline. After flirting with us for several weeks, it appears that spring has finally arrived here in central Minnesota. There’s so much excitement during springtime on our dairy farm. Here’s what I’m looking forward to:
The most anticipated event of spring on our dairy farm is the day we open up the pasture gate and turn the cows out onto the fresh, green grass. The day is like a holiday, for both us and the cows.
Fresh grass also means that the snow is gone and the mud is mostly dried up, so our children can play outside without layers of winter clothes and mud boots. I love the freedom of letting them come and go without dressing and undressing as much as they do.
When the cows go out to pasture, I add a new chore (except it's hardly a chore) to my morning routine: walking the pasture to check for newborn calves. Since our cows don't give birth during the coldest part of winter, we have lots of newborn calves during the spring.
My daughter's favorite cow, Star, gave birth to a little girl calf last month. Her name is Sparkle. My son's favorite cow, Lucy, just had a little girl that he named Lego. As soon as our driveway dries out, Dan and Monika will be leading Lego and Sparkle around in circles, practicing for the county fair later this summer.
Newborn calves aren't the only babies on our farm during spring. Usually, a hen or two will hatch out a clutch of chicks. The first sight of a proud mama hen parading her little chicks around the yard is almost as exciting as watching the cows kick up their heels when they first run out to the pasture.
Spring also brings new plant life to the farm. Our hay fields are waking up after slumbering for the winter. We'll soon be harvesting our first crop of hay. Seeds will be planted in the soil, with hopes for timely rains and abundant sunshine, so that we can grow enough food to feed our cattle for the next year.
I had a very small garden a couple years ago, but between chores and chasing after our kids and chasing the chickens out of the garden, I gave up on it. I think it's time to try again. My kids are fascinated with gardening and they’re old enough now to help — and to shut the gate that keeps the chickens out.
With so much going on this time of year, I don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen. This recipe is one of my favorite quick spring meals. I love the combination of spinach and bell peppers, as well as the way the cream and parmesan cheese bring all the flavors together.
You can serve this recipe for breakfast or brunch, with warm biscuits and fresh fruit. It's equally good for supper, with oven-roasted potatoes.
Wilted Spinach Salad Over Fried Eggs
· 1 Half Stick (1/4 cup) Land O Lakes® Butter
· 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
· 1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
· ½ cup Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream or Half & Half
· Pinch salt
· 6 ounces (4 cups) baby spinach
· 8 Land O Lakes® Eggs
· Salt, if desired
· Pepper, if desired
· ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add bell pepper and onion; cook until onions are translucent and just starting to brown. Stir in whipping cream and salt; continue cooking until mixture just comes to a boil. Add half of spinach; toss until the spinach is slightly wilted. Add remaining spinach to pan; continue tossing until all spinach is wilted. Cover pan; remove from heat.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in another skillet over medium heat. Crack three or four eggs into pan, leaving space between each egg. Break yolks; sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook until eggs are half set. Turn eggs; continue cooking until completely set. Remove eggs to plate; keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter and eggs.
Place two fried eggs onto each serving plate. Top each plate with 1/4 salad. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.