Vista Alegre Baserria Month by month in the farm
Main menu

February 2022 PDF Print E-mail

What happened on the farm in Fbraury?

What did the cows eat?

On sunny days the dry cows and heifers were able to graze. We gave

the milkers dried forage, grass silage and a little feedstuff.


Winter chores on the farm include mending fences

and pruning trees. Lopping branches and pruning trees is done for a

variety of reasons: letting tractors move into fields, as in the case of

the photo, reduce (but not completely remove) shady areas in wetter

fields, remove lower branches to let cattle into wooded areas for

shade… In all cases the branches that are removed are used in many

ways such as for closing gaps in hedges or fences, as firewood or

kindling or for poles.

The cows calved two heifer and two bull calves in February. The streak

of no heifer calves at all seems to finally have come to an end.

Flower of the month. (Prunus domesticus) Plum


There are quite a few different plum varieties on the farm and we use

their fruit for puddings, jams or fresh fruit desserts. The remains of

plums have been found in Neolithic archaeological sites and may, in

fact, have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans. An

article on plum tree cultivation in Andalusia (southern Spain) appears

in the 12 century “Book on Agriculture” by Ibn al-Awwam. Raw plums

are 87% water, 11% carbohydrates, 1% protein and under 1% fat, su-

pplying only a little vitamin C. Although not available commercially

some hobbyists and other private woodworkers still use the wood from

plum trees to make musical instruments, knife handles and inlays.

Recipe of the month: Swiss chard with soft cheese and basil

12 Swiss chard stalks: wide stalks cut into 10cm segments.

250 g soft cheese (or tat cheese each person prefers)

200g ham (sort depending on each person’s preferences)


Steam the Swiss chard until soft. Strain and place on an oven proof tray.

Dice the cheese and ham. Sprinkle basil on each segment of Swiss chard,

then divide the cheese in twelve and place over basil and then repeat the

procedure with the ham. Place in moderate oven until cheese melts. Eat hot.

We may now start offering potential customers cheese to try in weekly

farmers’ market in Bilbao

As we mentioned in our January website update, there is a lot of concern

being raised about big industrial livestock farms. On Saturday the 26th

we were present in a seminar on the issue of the social and environmen-

tal problems caused by intensive farming in general and in which there

was also a mini-market of products from organic, extensive, local farms.


Thistles are not particularly welcome in our fields, mainly because

they seed very easily and son colonize whole patches of land, re-

ducing grazing potential significantly. On the other hand, insects

and some bird species use thistles in many different ways. We thus

try to keep thistles out of our fields but leave some in field margins.


What was the weather like?

The weather in February was quite mixed with alternating sunny and

cloudy days, but with, overall, little precipitation, 36 litres. We had

light frosts some mornings when the thermometer dipped to only 0,2ºC

and these often coincided with quite dramatic dawn skies and sometimes

a smattering of snow on the hills. Day time temperatures were often far

too high for this time of year, reaching 19,4ºC.


Some herbivorous insects such as the bramble stem gall wasp (Diastrophus rubi)

create their own microhabitats by forming an abnormal growth such as the one in

the photo. Both upright and prostrate stems can be galled, are often low down and

hidden by vegetation and, thus, tend to be most noticeable in the winter when

brambles have lost some of their leaves. The gall can contain up to 200 spherical

swellings, each of which is a chamber containing a white wasp larva. Larvae over-

winter in the gall and adults emerge the following spring. Galls can remain on

the plants for many years, are often silvery and numerous exit holes can be seen.

About 1,300 species of gall wasps are known worldwide, with about 360 species

in Europe. The wasps themselves are generally very small, measuring from



We have managed to repair the hay barn that was damaged during the

fire on January 1st. Basically, we have had to remove and replace about

60% of the roofing. The hay and alfalfa bales we managed to buy to

replace that lost in the fire is now properly stored.

Two more members of our work team had time off work due to Omicron

with all this means regards covering work on a small farm with dairy.

Looking back it is clear that despite taking as many preventive measures

as possible, in some way Omicron has managed to overcome masks, gels,

gloves and social distancing. Is this because the measures have been

insufficient and / or we have not been diligent enough in complying by them?

The quality of our milk  


Optimum result

Farm result

Fat content









Somatic cell count



Presence  / absence antibiotics




Special corner for schools: visit our special corner for schools for special information about our farm and the farm dairy. There are resource materials for teachers. In this corner you can find out how to arrange a class outing to our farm.

Copy left: With due regard to both constructive criticism and respect, the information posted on this website may be used freely for socially orientated and solidarity minded projects in order to further food sovereignty.