Category Archives: Maple Syrup Making

Updates Galore

Ok here goes!

Winter Vegetable Garden

Ummm, so I think the last time we really picked any veggies from our winter garden was on New Year’s Eve when the husband cooked an amazing meal for us. There was duck and poached pears involved, among other deliciousness. But we really didn’t shower it with the love and attention it deserved. I think we might have cracked the window covers on the green house boxes once on a sunny day, and cleaned the snow off them once. Also, the husband reported back around January that some moles or voles have been digging under the green house boxes to get at our Endive and our¬†Merveilles de Quatre Saisons (fancy heritage French lettuce). Apparently the little fuzz balls have expensive taste. You can see what the winter vegetable garden looked like in November here. Anyways, pretty much the only one that’s barely hanging on is the frilly kale, everything else has disappeared, leaving behind them nice clean patches of soil. We also experimented with whether we could store carrots in the ground over the winter…we could not, they turned to mush. Perhaps if we had a constant snow cover and did not have so many feeze/thaw cycles it would have worked. But the parsnips seemed to have stored better in the ground, the husband harvested quite a few on Monday.

CHICKENS!!

Hopefully by the end of April we’ll be driving to the mainland to pick up our chicks. I had requested 12 black Australorps and 12 speckled Sussex, but it looks like the speckled Sussex won’t work out and we’ll be picking 12 of whatever else the breeder has hatched at the time. We’re aiming for standard bred, dual purpose heritage chickens that’ll be a pleasure to raise on our homestead, and a pleasure to eat. We’ll have to wait around 5 months to taste our first home-raised chicken and 6 months for eggs. We have spent months researching and preparing, and we’re excited!

Maple Syrup

Boiling down Maple Syrup

We boiled down the last bit of sap we collected a week ago and pulled out the taps. I thought to myself, it’s a good thing it’s still cold outside and we need the heat in the house anyways, but for two days it was over 26C in the livingroom and it was hot!

Spring

First Crocus

First Crocus

I never understood why new years start in the winter. For a farmer wannabe, the new year starts when you see your first crocus. But I suppose that doesn’t really work for southern farmers who don’t get to experience all 4 seasons. And for those who know me, yes, I do have some reservations about the upcoming season of black flies, mosquitoes, horseflies, june bugs, earwigs and wasps. Here’s to hoping no wasps inside the house this year, and no black flying beetles that buzz and float into the washroom as I’m sitting on the throne.

Garlic sprout

Some of the garlic we planted in the fall¬†have sprouted! Did I mention that we’re supposed to get 10-15cm of snow tonight and tomorrow and that I’m a bit worried for them?!

Thankful

Well I think that’s about it. It has been a quiet winter, yet dotted with some life changing events, the sudden death of a young friend, and some health issues in the family. But in the midst of it all, we could still see how good Jesus is, and we’re so thankful, and we’re filled with hope.

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Maple Syrup 2013

23 more days until the official start of spring! The weather here for the past few days has been beautiful. Clear blue skies, with night time temperatures below 0C and day time temperatures around 7C, perfect for collecting sugar maple sap.

After the husband washed all the buckets, taps and hoses, out we go, traipsing through the snowy fields and into the woods. This year we’re tapping 4 of the larger sugar maples. There are many more, but they’re still too small to tap. The husband knows these woods so well, he knew exactly which trees we were tapping and where they were. It seems so natural to him, but to a city girl, or a new country girl, it just baffles me because everywhere I go in the woods, it all looks the same to me!

Anyways here’s the husband using a brace and bit to drill a hole for the tap or spigot.

tapping sugar maple

Here’s the tap inserted into the sugar maple.

tapping sugar maple

For the larger trees like this one, we can safely put in 3 taps.

tapping sugar maple

Hopefully soon I’ll have pictures for you of the sap we’ve collected, and the boiling process.