It is maple syrup season
The farm has two maple trees and now is the time of year when the sap is collected. There is a magic time when the days are warm but the nights are still cool that causes the sap to move. This is I think the third year that I have collected sap and made syrup. Last summer there were two gentlemen who would drive past the farmstand on their way to the lake and stop to buy tomatoes. My farmstand is self serve with payment on the honor system so I had not met them until their last trip for the summer. The dogs were barking up a storm so I walked out to make sure that everything was okay and we struck up a conversation. Turns out that one of the gentleman does maple syrup on a quite large scale and his family has done it for a couple of generations. He told me that he would bring me some buckets that he uses, a little different style than the ones that I had started with, when they came back in the spring. He was true to his word and a couple of weeks ago they showed up with buckets and taps and tubing. He set up two buckets with six taps on one tree and there was enough extra to do two more buckets and six more taps on the other tree. Once a supply of sap is collected it is cooked to evaporate the water and concentrate the sugar. It takes quite a while. Generally it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Sap is perfectly clear when it comes from the tree and thin like water. It is the cooking that causes the color to change to caramel and the syrup to thicken. Cooking produces a lot of steam so the initial evaporating is usually done outside and then finished up on the stove in the kitchen. So far I have collected about six pails of sap and have been cooking it to evaporate the water. It has been cooler during the day so the sap production has slowed but will pick up again when the days are a little warmer. The slow down allows me to catch up with the cooking. I am bottling my syrup in mason jars and am starting to get a few pints on the shelf.
|sap bucket sitting in new snow|
|half full of sap|
The greens in the greenhouse are appreciating the longer days. I have some that have bolted and gone to seed and some new ones that will replace them. I am also in the process of making room for the seedlings that will eventually go to friends and family and be sold on the farmstand and transplanted into our own vegetable garden.
|ready to eat|
|lavender lots of new growth|
|rosemary some is flowering|
|thyme with a few flowers|
|sage ready to flower|
I have been starting seeds in the house. These are the going to be the transplants that will be for sale on the farmstand come May and transplanted into the garden once winter has decided that it is finally done. The tomatoes and peppers and herbs all benefit from starting indoors. This year we are sticking with our tried and true varieties but also some new varieties. Our grocery store has been selling cherry tomatoes as an assortment in pint containers, different sizes and colors and I am thinking that I will do the same at the market so we added a few new cherry and cocktail type tomatoes.
This year I am starting some flower seeds in addition to the vegetables and am planning a cutting garden. I am hoping to sell flowers at the farmers market in addition to the vegetables and baked goods. I am planning to dedicate a couple of rows in the garden for perennials and then also some annuals. Last year I had a section of my garden that didn't get planted and was full of thistle and milkweed and the pollinators loved it. I am thinking that I will intentionally leave a bit of that as well as the new flowers.
|tomato and asparagus|
|ready to pot|
I am replacing all of the drafty old windows in my house. I am thinking that they are the original ones. Right now the windows are sitting in a trailer in my yard. Weather permitting hopefully the installation will start soon. As part of that process I will be removing and replacing all of the interior trim and while the old trim is off and before the new trim goes up I am planning to paint the rooms on the main floor. I am moving in a more neutral direction. My kitchen has been white with one barn red wall and my living/dining room has been green with one white wall and a bit of burgundy in the stairwell. The new color in those rooms is going to be gray. The trim will still be white. I have started painting the walls that do not have windows and will catch up the window walls once the windows are installed. I have loved the look of my old wood six over one double hung windows with the pretty trim that matches the door trim throughout the house but the new vinyl windows will really add practicality and smaller heating and cooling costs. I am going to do a farmhouse style trim so that will be a fun change.
|this wall used to be green|
Another thing that is keeping me busy is a new puppy. Meet Libby. She is a full time job although it is getting easier as she is getting a little bigger and spending more time outside. She is a Great Pyrenees. She is such a sweetheart.
|a muddy Libby|
Lots of stuff going on. Thanks for visiting
I am joining BNOTP for Met Monday here.