A couple of posts ago I shared that I was collecting maple tree sap in order to make syrup. Well predictably about the time that the post was published the weather turned cold and the sap stopped flowing. I decided that the sap that I had collected should be cooked down even though there was less than 2 gallons so I set to work evaporating off the water. I did get a bit of finished syrup. I think it tasted pretty good. I divided it between two small jars and took one to my parents to get their opinion. I will share the second jar as well hoping to get some feedback as to whether we should expand and add more taps to my trees.
A weekend ago we had a party celebrating the upcoming wedding of my daughter and her fiance. I helped prepare some of the food and two of the items that I made, several batches of homemade rum raisin ice cream and two kinds of flan, required egg yolks but no egg whites. As I was going thru a couple of dozen eggs I saved the whites and they have been aging in my fridge and I have been attempting macarons with the saved and aged egg whites. I have wanted to learn to make them for a long time. I have read that they can be fussy with lots of places that they can fail. I found a website with troubleshooting tips that was a couple of pages long. Pretty intimidating even for a person who likes food challenges. I am not terribly proud of my macarons but I am not out of saved egg whites yet so I will keep making them and hoping to improve. Here is a picture of a few chocolate and a few plain macarons in a cute silver bonbon dish that was a thrift store find.
Spring seed starting
I have been getting prepared to start seeds for the summer garden. I moved the metal shelving out into the dining room which required some rearrangement of furniture. I have been sanitizing the seed trays that I will be using by soaking them first in soapy water to loosen any stuck potting mix followed by a rinse and then another soak, this time 20 minutes in a mild bleach solution. It was kind of time consuming. I had a big tub on my counter where I soaked the trays in the soapy water and there was only room for one at a time. The bleach water container allowed for three trays to be soaked at a time but they stood on one end in the bucket and had to be flipped to do the other end.
The last couple of years we have ordered all of our seeds from one mail order company and it worked out well. Last fall I decided to try saving seed from my plants and so this year I need to sort what I have and what needs to be ordered. Last year we had our order in our hands earlier than this. I am trying to plan what is the best plan of action for seed starting. The upcoming wedding is a destination wedding so I will be away for a few days which means that all those little seedlings will be needing a babysitter. Quite a few of the seeds can be started after I return and at this point my plan is to wait with as many as possible. I have heard that often with an El Nino weather pattern that produces a mild winter often is followed by a cool, wet spring.
I did start some asparagus plamts from seed that I saved from last year. Asparagus is kind of slow to germinate and it is usually the first seeds that I start. My trays are really inconsistent at this point with how they are doing. So far about 1/3 are up. All of our asparagus has been started from seeds instead of plants but last year is the first that I have saved the seeds from our plants in order to grow more plants. In the past we have always ordered seed. This is the first spring that we are staring plants from our own seed.