Yesterday was beautiful and it felt like maple sugaring season. When we got home from running errands I grabbed my spiles, drill and got to work setting a few maples taps.
I set 10 taps yesterday and hope to head out and put in at least 10 or 15 more. The maples closest to the house and on my route to the coop and on dog walks got first priority. They’ll be the easiest to monitor and empty.
Maple sugaring season is one of my favorites – I love heading outside to check all the collection jars, gathering sap and boiling it down into a tasty treat. There’s something so exciting about the process. For me it’s the official end of winter and the beginning of spring.
As soon as I set the taps most of them started dripping, one tree is already proving to be a champ, giving a quart of sap in only a few hours. My goal is to get at least 3 gallons of finished syrup this year, that means I need 12-15 taps. As we have found out in the past, some trees produce a bounty of sap and others not quite as much. I’d rather have more syrup than I need than not enough, so I’ll shoot on setting 20 taps.
Is there a specific thing that signals the end of winter and beginning of spring for you?Filed under Around the Garden | Comments (9)
I love onions, love love love them. I’m fairly certain not a day goes by that I don’t include onions in my diet. As a result I grow lots of onions. After being disappointed in the varieties of onions available in plant/set, I began starting my onions from seed.
This year I’m trying a few open pollinated varieties and would like to try producing some of my own seed for the future. That’s one reason I chose to grow ‘Clear Dawn’, which is a stabilized open pollinated version of ‘Copra’ a popular long-storing onion.
My ‘Redwing’ onions from last year are storing like champs, which is very rare for red onions. I’m growing them again along with ‘Red Bull’ which is supposed to be an open pollinated long storing red onion. I’ll compare how it stores alongside the ‘Redwing’ onions.
‘Red Weathersfield’ is considered to be one of the healthiest onions, it contains high levels of antioxidants and other goodness. It’s also supposed to store well, we shall see how it stacks up to the other two red varieties above.
I’m also starting a few varieties of leeks, they are great when you don’t want too much oniony flavor and they are great for augmenting the onions in the winter since they’re so cold tolerant.
This is the first year I’ve been able to grow enough onions for my kitchen. My onion harvest is still storing well and I have a good number in the pantry. When the garden thaws I’ll have a few overwintered leeks as well to help make them last until the 2014 harvest comes in.
What’s your favorite vegetable to start from seed?
Tara has been here four months now and she finally seems like she’s at home. She’s happy as a clam watching over her ducks/chickens/guineas.
Our electric fences took a beating in the big ice storm so we took them down. Now she’s tethered or leashed to make sure she sticks around. She’s pretty good about staying close, but every now and then the urge to look for coyotes and foxes gets the best of her and she’ll head off into the woods.
Almost every day I take her on a hike to look for coyotes and fox tracks, she has a blast. Every now and then she spooks the odd squirrel and really wants to chase it. Needless to say, I’m glad I’ve got biceps from gardening so I can keep hold of her leash.
All-in-all she’s doing a great job. She even helped us keep the flock safe from a fox last week. This spring we’re hoping to start installing welded wire and electric perimeter fences around the pasture. Then we’ll let her run freely in that area.
Isn’t she a lovely chiots?Filed under Around the Garden, Feathered & Furred | Comments (15)
Lately, I’ve been taking The Brown Chiots on a morning walk. We head down the driveway and then we come back up again, nothing too exciting, but it gives us a cleared place to walk. We have a longer driveway, around 1/3 of a mile in length. It’s downhill all the way down and uphill all the way back. This is the perfect walk for Lucy, especially the uphill part. It helps keep her old joints a little less stiff.
When we’re proactive about taking her on a short walk every day she definitely gets around much better. Not to mention, she simply loves to be out and about. I also must say, it’s good for me as well! Having her around makes me get out and walk, I probably wouldn’t be doing this in the morning if it weren’t for her. It’s nice to breathe the crisp morning air, look for animals tracks through the woods and to watch the birds about their work. I’d get physical exercise even if it wasn’t for this walk, but this walk is good for more than just my body!
Do you have a daily activity that’s physical to help keep you active?Filed under Around the Garden, Feathered & Furred | Comments (7)
We definitely stay warm & toasty all winter long thanks to all the work we put in cutting & splitting firewood. It’s that time of the year to start working on the wood we’ll be using this coming winter. Mr Chiots has been out the past few weekends cutting down a few trees close to the house that are half dead and have been dropping large branches when it’s windy. Some of them are pine trees which we won’t be using for firewood, but one was a nice big cherry tree. Most of it will heat our home, but there’s one nice piece that he’s going to mill into lumber for further furniture.
Harvesting your own firewood is a lot of work, but it’s satisfying work. Mr Chiots usually cuts down all the trees and when the splitter comes out I step in and help out. It’s a great chore because it makes you get outside in the winter when you might not otherwise. We always enjoy the days we spend splitting & stacking, usually we try to pick a beautiful sunny winter day if possible.
Every year we hope to get a little extra wood put up to get a year or two ahead. That way, should injury or some unforeseen circumstance prevent us from doing it we’d still have enough wood on hand for the winter.
Last year we stacked some of our wood in holz hausens and really loved the look and technique. We’ll be stacking all of our wood in these as we cut this winter.
Do you or have you ever helped with cutting/splitting/stacking of firewood?Filed under Around the Garden | Comments (9)