Wednesday, February 29, 2012

25 gallons

Filling a 5 gallon bucket.

This post was originally titled "15 gallons", but that was before I checked 3 of the 6 maples trees that we are tapping for sap.  I have run out of 5 gallon buckets (used to receive sap from the 2 gallon tree buckets) and am busy cleaning other containers in our home so that we do not lose some of the sap from the trees.  One of the 5 gallon buckets has already been emptied into my large kettles on my stove.  Clearly (ahem), the initially boiling of sap is an outdoor activity--my hair is a little wavier, my indoor plants love the balmy atmosphere that the sap boiling has created, and I am now left with the task of wiping ceilings and windows down.  In the works for this weekend is an outdoor fire pit to boil down the sap.  I am on the hunt for a suitable kettle to use outdoors and hoping for good weather, no blizzards please.

Unrelated, be equally important:  my seed orders have been placed and Kelly (our generous greenhouse owner) is awaiting our seeds for starting.  We're coordinating our efforts to avoid duplication and I am eager to try some new varieties from Sand Hill Preservation and Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Hope this Leap Day is treating you well!

Friday, February 24, 2012

{this moment} Dazzle

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual:

Wishing you and yours a great Friday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soule Spile

Our first season of sugaring has begun.  My husband purchased a variety of spiles from our local hardware store and we spent a few hours over the weekend selecting, drilling and tapping our maples trees.

We are enjoying these books:

Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell

Sugartime: The Hidden Pleasures of Making Maple Syrup with a Primer for the Novice Sugarer by Susan Carol Hauser

And enjoying these online resources:

edible Grande Traverse  ~ this resource discusses the health benefits of maple syrup and has beautiful pictures.  ~ they have a lovely post on the Sap Moon.

My mother recently gave me her beautifully kept 7th edition of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (circa 1942) and I was delighted to see many recipes that use maple sugar.

I like how Will Weaver describes maple sugaring in his forward to Sugartime:
"It is more than the work of one night or one week; its rhythms are measured in sunlight and shadow, in the tilt of the earth's axis and in the ancient memories of trees."

I think of his statement as my family adds a new venture to our path of living mindfully and enjoying these moments on our land.

Have you tried sugaring?  Do you have a favorite maple recipe to share?  I would love to read about it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Uncommon Weather

I am usually not one to complain of mild temperatures.  I enjoy the winter daylight and being able to take photographs of objects that would be otherwise snow-covered.

Darth Vader and his hens.
 I am sure that the chickens enjoy free ranging during a time where normally, we do all we can to keep them warm.


We have done a lot to prepare for this winter, which was forecasted to be quite severe.

My concern, as I surveyed the fruit trees in our orchard and children's garden, was--do they think that Spring will soon arrive?

2011 planting in apple orchard.

How is winter treating you?

Friday, February 3, 2012

{this moment} crafting hands

Joining Soulemama:
"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

Happy Friday!