Vista Alegre Baserria Month by month in the farm
Main menu

March 2022 PDF Print E-mail

What did we do in March?

We received our first visitors since the beginning of the COVID pan-

demic. On March 3rd around twenty Secondary School students

from San Viator (Sopuerta) visited the farm


and on the 17th students from the Secondary School in Balmaseda.


Flower of the month. Strawberry (Fragaria sp)


We featured wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) on the website

several years ago. It is rather unusual to see cultivated straw-

berries in flower on the farm at the start of March, but this plant

had flowered, no doubt due to the very mild weather conditions.

Strawberries are not really berries if seen from a botanical point

of view. The fleshy part is not derived from the plant’s ovaries but

from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each apparent “seed”

on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the

flower with a seed inside it. The few strawberry plants there are

on the farm are to provide fruit for home consumption.

What was the weather like?

There have been some very unusual weather conditions in March.

On the 7th we woke to a red dawn


and on the 15th and 16th we suffered a “calima” the name given to

a hot dry wind from the Sahara Desert loaded with dust. The dust

formed a continuous “cloud” for two days.


Apart from coating cars and roads with dust, all plants were covered

in a layer of the brown dust that obviously also covered the cow’s

mouths as they grazed.


This dry southerly wind also brought unusually high temperatures

for the time of year, up to 21,8ºC, and this gave us our first snake

sighting of the year (we haven’t been able to positively identify the


It rained at the start and the end of the month, a total of 229 litres.

The yearly farmers’ fair in Güeñes was held on the 19th of March

for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic.


What did the cows eat?

We gave the milkers dried forage, grass silage, a little feedstuff and,

for the first time this year, some freshly mown grass.


The sunny days the dry cows and heifers were able to graze. On our

farm the heifers spend their time between being calves and the end

of their first pregnancies in a field about 600m meter away from the

main farm buildings and in which they have their own barn. When

they near their first calving we bring them back down to the farm and

take the heifer calves up to the “heifers’ barn”.


The heifers spend most of their time grazing but we also take up

dried forage in case any weather conditions such as prolonged

heavy rain or snow mean they cannot graze.


Recipe of the month: Basque “pantxineta”

“Pantxineta is a traditional Basque tart from Donosti (San Sebastian).

Basically it is a pastry filled with a sort of custard cream with almonds

sprinkled on top, although there are many versions of panxineta


Por the pantxineta:

2 strips of pastry (there are pastry recipes on the website if you prefer

to make your own pastry)

1 beaten egg

100 gr flaked almonds

Icing sugar


For the filling:

500 ml milk

130 gr sugar

Peel 1 lemon

1 stick of cinnamon

4 egg yolks

40 gr cornflour


Making the filling:

Slowly heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan. Add the lemon peel

and the cinnamon. Mix the sugar and cornflour in a bowl and then

slowly add to the warm milk, stirring continually. Heat the mixture,

çstirring continuously until it thickens. When ready, leave to cool.

Once cold place in an icing tube and leave in the fridge.

Making the pantxineta:

Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Place greaseproof paper over a baking

tray. Place one of the pastry layers on the baking tray and prick with

a fork. Spread the filling over the pastry base leaving an inch (1.5cm)

around each edge free. Use a pastry brush to spread a layer of beaten

egg on these margins. Cover with the other layer of pastry and pinch

close around the edge using fingers and then a fork. Use the pastry

brush to add a layer of beaten egg over the top of the pastry, sprin-

kle with icing sugar and then almonds. Place in the oven for 45 minutes.

Presentation: Once out of the oven sprinkle the icing sugar

over the Surface with the help of a sieve. Leave to cool before serving

Towards the end of the month we managed to start preparing the

allotment for planting. Despite prolonged drying south winds, the

huge amount of rain at the end of the year and interspersed showers

over the following months meant the soil was too wet to work until

then. After using the motor-plough


we planted onions, cauliflowers, cabbages and lettuces and sowed

carrots, beetroot, parsnips, peas and potatoes.

As usual we have protected the brassicas in their cage to stop butter-

flies laying eggs and the peas to stop birds pecking up the peas or

moles tunneling along the ground. Both netting and boards are

removed once the peas germinate but the brassica cage is left until

we harvest the cabbages and cauliflowers.

By March there were only a few vegetables left in the allotment

(before planting) including a patch of leeks, some of which were

nibbled by some creature or another.


Apart from the daily chores on the farm, farm machinery has to

be regularly checked and repairs, oiling, or adjustments made

and slurry spreading continues, as does topping and clearing un-

wanted vegetation such as nettles, ferns and brambles. We also

made the first batch of silage this year.

On March 24th we ran a course on Health and Safety in the Dairy.

This is a legal obligation but was postponed due to COVID. Addition-

ally, due to the increasing amount of paperwork related to subsidies,

certification, and monitoring, for example, that can only be done on-

line we attended an (on-line) training course on the 30th.

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.