Today with the wind chill the temperatures are hovering around 0 or slightly below. It was quick nippy out at the bus stop this morning...we were willing the bus to please show up quickly!! The wind has been howling since last night,and during the noontime news they said that Rochester had a gust of 44 miles an hour. That is not surprising. Small branches are falling and honestly I am surprised that there are no reports of power outages.At least if we do lose power,we have plenty of food,a woodstove,and several candles and kerosene lamps.We have an emergency radio,water to flush the toilet,and a propane grill and camp stoves. So we are all set.
The main topic in our household,aside from the med board and Rick's knees,is the upcoming Spring and what we are going to do.This has been a continuing discussion.Our latest topic is what to name our upcoming farm. We figure if we are going to grow food,have chickens and turkeys,and gather sap that our home could be considered a farm. So far we are leaning towards Little Yellow Farm. We have also been debating where to put our chicken coop.
This is a pic of our original chicken coop area,back in 2005. Right now this area has wood piled up in it. We don't want to build such a big coop this time-we learned that it's not necessary from blogs and articles. So the question is,where shall we put it?
We do want to have a good sized area for them to roam,and I loved it when our chickens would free range around the yard. However,we do not have a fenced in yard (we have a stone wall) and the girls would wander into the neighbors yards. We had one neighbor call the town on us because of this,instead of coming to us and telling us she did not appreciate our feathered friends visits. So we kept them in the fenced in area.
Next month begins maple sugar season here in NH. I checked out the NH Maple Producers Association website and was surprised that the season did not begin later. But mid February it is. We tried out hand at maple syrup before,but we did not boil the sap each day,and most of what we gathered wound up going bad. We have several maples in our yard,and I believe that we tapped 5 of them-some with double taps. We are planning on doing that again this year,and will tap our silver,red,and sugar maples. Sugar maples are the sweetest sap,which is why they are the main tree used for syrup,but the other species have sweet sap as well. So we are gearing up for that. We are going to price a large propane tank for the boiling process. It takes a while to boil down sap,and to keep filling the small BBQ size propane tanks would be quite expensive.
It takes 40 gallons of sap to make about one. As it boils,the clear sap turns that lovely amber color,and the longer you boil it,the darker it becomes.
My brother in law is here in this photo pouring the maple syrup in jars through cheesecloth to strain out any impurities. We didn't have covers for our buckets,and this year we are discussing buying some.Our syrup was a light amber color,and the taste was a sweet,light taste.It was quite delicious!