Unfortunately, current posts to our web site have been limited. Three weeks ago we had an incident at our home involving a water line break while we were away and needless to say, we had some damage. So...not only do we have farm chores, but we are in the middle of remodeling a few rooms. It could have been a lot worse, so we are still very fortunate. We will resume regular posts when we get closer to finishing the repairs.
Over the last week, we have tapped and sapped a total of 5 maple trees on the farm. In all, we collected perhaps 9-10 gallons of sweet water, and today, we began the job of boiling it down. It was a beautiful day to sit around a fire waiting for the sugary water to slowly turn to amber-colored syrup. It was a L.O.N.G. process. We got a few chores done around the barn and even got a list of garden seeds and supplies made for the upcoming spring season. This nice weather makes a person think of gardening, so the timing was just right.
...and 10 gallon of sap and seven hours of boiling yields about a quart of maple syrup. Good thing it was a nice day and things could get done while the wait was on...
Pancakes for breakfast, for sure!
Wow...what a winter it's been. Reminds me of the late 70's. School has been closed more than it's been open since Christmas. Obviously, snow makes farm life a little interesting. Wednesday night and Thursday of this week brought 6 to 7 inches of fresh snow. Last night and this morning brought another 3 to 4 inches.
As we sit by the fire and enjoy the natural beauty that occurs outdoors, it makes us appreciate the quietness of our little spot on earth. It is obvious that God has blessed us beyond measure and makes us realize that we take so much for granted each day. With a fresh coconut cream pie right out of the oven (recipe provided by Uncle Calvin), it is sure to be a great day. God Bless America!
It's finally the weekend! Even though we only had a three-day school week (thanks to some snow days), it seemed to drag on. With a beautiful, snow-covered day, the kids and I went out to get a few chores done at the barn. After the work, we got out the Polaris and pulled the sleds behind it. The sheep were glad to be fed and a new set of twins were bouncing around exploring the barns and field.
While the feeding gets done, Charlie is always close by. He's not only the guardian of the sheep but his family.
Today was yet another day off from school. With subzero temperatures, the kiddos get to stay home for the 11th day in a row. It's been a long time since such a winter has hit this area. Since there's nothing to do but enjoy what you've been given, the days are spent cleaning out closets and drawers, along with washing walls and windows, and of course, there's always the talk of what we will cook next. Today, we made supper first thing before heading off to the next room that needs a good cleaning.
If you have ever been to the Dixie Stampede and enjoy soup, you have to LOVE the soup they give you as the meal's appetizer. We made that soup and put it in the crockpot. Four loaves of homemade french bread and monkey bread were baked and are now ready for when everyone gets home for supper this evening. Snow days are a real treat and we're getting treated well this season!
Stay warm and enjoy what's been given to you.
Finally the temperature has reached above freezing. With a temperature of 33 degrees, we decided to go out and play in the snow after we got the feeding done. We have had continuous snow for the past 2 days, and have measured up to 13 inches (snow drift) on our little hill. Once again, God has given us a wonderful and beautiful day.
Over the years of living here in Joker, we have hunted in our hollow and have never found an easy route to get in and out. Today the family took an adventure and began to clear a road up to our cabin. With a windchill of 15.8 degrees and several inches of snow falling, we began the clearing. With all of us clearing, and some little girl playing in the snow, we had it done in a matter of a few hours. Even with the cold, bitter weather we all still had a blast.
With an astounding temperature of 3 degrees, and yet another snow day, it was decided that today would be spent inside cleaning the house. With a grand total of 4-5 inches of snow, our farm was turned into another winter wonderland. Even though we weren't that active outside, the sheep were still as alive as ever.
Today was a day packed with unloading a ton of feed, hunting, and a new experience for the children. After unloading the ton of feed, we decided that we had one too many roosters, and decided to take this chance to educate the kiddos on something we both had watched our grandparents do during our childhood: how to pluck and butcher a chicken. To be honest, I thought the kids would be disgusted, but surprisingly they found this to be pretty interesting. After the whole experience was over we decided to squirrel hunt with Lucy, our Mountain Cur. Even though we didn't see anything, we all spent time together enjoying God's beautiful creation.
Waking up to a few inches of snow and a temperature below freezing means two things, we aren't going anywhere and the kids get to play in the snow. Unfortunately the snow had to come on a Sunday, but like always we had church service at our house. After lunch (and a quick nap) the family went out to "get some work done", which involved the kids getting pulled behind our Polaris. After the fun and games were over we fed the animals, and collected the eggs. The lambs seem to be growing really well. Even though we didn't go to church, I still think that we had a very blessed day!
Bruce and Amy Fitzwater of Joker Ridge Farm, where life is always busy and front porch swinging is a good way to end the day.