Pancakes for breakfast, for sure!
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!
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.
Just about full...
The garden has been good to us this year. We've put away enough in canned goods to keep us for the winter and then a few more after that. We're still canning most evenings after work, but it should soon be slowing down. We hope to put away some apples later on this month and will be digging 'taters this evening. The sweet potatoes are still blooming, so it will be a while before those are ready to be put away. Today, the dehydrater is taking care of some onions and the last of the carrots were dug to eat with butter and honey. God is most certainly good to us.
She's proud of her first crop of carrots
With the recent rains, our gardens have grown leaps and bounds. It's getting to the time that the canners will have to come out of storage, jars will need to be washed, flats and rings sterilized, and the cellar shelves filled. The supper table is set with plenty of squash, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, taters, cabbage, corn (thanks, Papal - ours isn't ready), and CARROTS! We were just going to thin the patch, but came out with a bunch to eat that evening. Honey glazed with butter - yummoo! Little girl LOVES them. As tempting as it iwas to pick beans, there aren't enough for the first mess, yet. That should happen next week - double yummooo!
Grapes of Hur...
Though they aren't very big nor plentiful this year, the new grapes are growing better than we'd hoped for their first year. Sheep manure works wonders! Sorry if the word manure is too graphic for you, but it's a fact of life and totally organic. That's GREEN nowadays, don't you know?!
This spring came with our youngest's first real farm responsibility. Chicks. Fifteen baby chicks arrived to the mailbox while we were working in the tater patch, and it's been a job for her ever since. She made sure they had a heat lamp on them for the first weeks, while supplying plenty of water and food. She's even cleaned their temporary pin and now their very own coop. She gets right in there and picks them up and loves on them like only a five-year old has the imagination to do, talking to them like they are her dolls or her new best friend. She doesn't seem to mind that they don't speak back, except in their chirps...
Today comes with a beautiful start. The air is cool with no humidity, and the birds are full of song and flight. It makes for a fantastic day to clean out the barn, stack hay, empty a water trough (it's a cemented tractor tire that has a drain that doesn't allow all the water to empty), and clean up an area of tin and pipe that needs re-stacked. Glad I've got good help.
Today was a productive day. Not a lot of hard work, but progress was made. The morning started with garden work: hoeing out the weeds; putting up a fence to support the heavy tomato plants; picking cucumbers, lettuce, onions, peppers; and graveling potatoes.
We then put up an arbor for our young grape vines. We put in posts and attached a bull panel to them for the grapes to vine their way up. We hope to have lots of grapes to pick for juice and jam in the years to come. Fingers crossed...
The day ended with cutting some firewood from a downed oak tree on one of our property lines. By the end of that task, there were contests won and lost over who could split the wood the fastest. It's amazing how fast work can get done when the title of the strongest splitter is at stake. That meant more than the monetary value awarded...not much can be bought with $5, unless you are a teenager who needs to buy gas, and all the money put away helps...
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.