Monday, March 14, 2011

The snow has melted and so the chickens are a lot happier because they can now roam around and enjoy the sunshine and take their dirt baths. It has been a long winter for them and with the longer days they are also laying eggs more consistently.
The greenhouse is starting to have little green plants all over it. The Leeks and onions are up, along with celery and celeriac root and parsley. The carrots have been started and on Wednesday spinach will go into soil blocks.
On Saturday was the NOFA (Northeast Organic Farmers Association) Bulk order pick up. Because we are a member of NOFA we can order minerals like HiCal Limestone, BioChar, SulpoMag, stakes, row covers and other supplies for the season. I then went to my second Nutrient Density Crop growing workshop on Sunday so now I need the soil to warm up so I can shape up my beds, add my minerals, Broad fork the minerals and cover crops in and then put down the irrigation lines and black plastic and have the beds all ready for planting. It is getting to be that time of year. The equinox being next Sunday - Spring will be here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Maple Syrup time

The sap from the Sugar Maple trees has started to flow. I think it really started about a week ago but we could not get to the trees because of all the ice and snow. The sun did come out and melt the snow so now we are in full production of collecting the sap from the trees and then cooking it off in our evaporator. We got the evaporator last year. It was a big job building the fire box with fire brick to make it burn hot. It was also not a good year for collecting sap so between the two endeavors we didn't succeed in getting any Maple Syrup. THIS YEAR will be different. We were ready with the buckets and taps. We got a new tarp for the 'Sugar Shack' (the winter was hard on tarps this year). And yesterday we had 25 gallons of sap collected so Bruce filled the upper chamber with the sap and started the fire and we are now cooking the sap down to Maple Syrup. The evaporator cooks it down to almost finished and then it needs to be filtered and cooked on the stove to finish it off. So hopefully we will get some Maple Syrup. The ratio of sap collected to amount of finished syrup is approximately 43 gallons of sap for 1 gallon of syrup. So at this point we have hopes of 1/2 gallon of syrup. We will see. In the picture Bruce is showing Z about building a fire in the lower fire box and how it heats up the stainless steel box which holds the syrup. Have to wait a few years before Z can run the evaporator.