Monday, March 8, 2010

Seeds have arrived

Update: Last of the season's seed orders have arrived. Greenhouse is topping out at over 90deg on sunny days, and we'll be firing up an old potbelly stove to boil some sugar maple sap tomorrow. We have about 15 gallons of sap already from the 5 trees we tapped. More pics of the greenhouse later this week.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Our first attempt at making maple syrup

A red forest gnome helps us put in the first taps into some of the sugar maples in the woods (thanks, Dad).

We put two buckets in lone trees in the woods beside the pasture today, and tomorrow we'll put some plastic taps with lines in a few of the trees closer together by the timber barn. In the first four hours, the buckets had about two gallons in them. That should make oh, about a 1/2 cup of syrup after we boil it down. There's plenty of kindling on site, and we have the mostly completed evaporator that Jeff designed for just this purpose.

It still needs a chimney and the pans should have more of the baffles to add more metal surface area to more evenly heat the syrup. We'll try it without the baffles this year, and refine the system before next year.

Farmer Sharon spent the last two days at a Native Plant Symposium. When she got home, we hacked down a multi-flora rose, distributed by state agencies a generation ago and now a scourge on the landscape. In a few more weeks, we'll plant elderberries, choke cherries, and black locust trees in various groups around the farm. The snow is still too deep for us to try the "new" manure spreader we the 10 tons of chicken manure remains in the driveway under a tarp. How's that for a welcome mat?