Ok, I have clearly been so busy, I haven’t been blogging much. Lots is happening. This happens every spring. Tax time, planting season, new farm babies, and restaurant changes all collide and I am overwhelmed. The planting chores are heavier this year due to the new hoophouses. So, here is a recap:
Syrup: all wrapped up. the 60 degree days and 40 degree nights meant the end of the season. I got 15 pints of syrup, which means I processed about 60 gallons of syrup. It was fun, if very demanding, but I was sorry the sap stopped. In reality, 15 pints is more than enough–probably for several years. would definitely d it again, but we will need to work out a system where we are cooking over fire and can get more surface area evaporating. I had all the sap I could deal with my 20 quart stockpot.
The Syrup has to be filtered when hot to remove minerals and cloudy looking “gunk.” I used my canning filters outfitted with extra milk filters (back from my home dairying phase). This was a very slow process. It worked best when I ran a cup or so through, then rinsed the filter with hot water, and repeated until it was all done. I then canned them in my water bath canner for good measure.
By far, the plastic store-bought spiles worked much better. 5 gallon jugs worked wonderfully and heavy-duty foil was a pretty good “lid.”
Plantings: Most of what was started indoors in February is now out in the hoophouses. Altogether there are 24 feet of hoophouse, 4 feet wide. I spent about an hour yesterday planting the last third with seeds. It is working very well. with these warmer days I have to go out and open the ends so it does not get too hot in there. Yesterday, I seeded:
We have 20 new chicks in the barn–a mixture of Rhode Island Red’s and Gold Laced Wyandotte’s. Paco got them at Rural King and they are a hardy bunch. Haven’t lost a one. They are already feathering out. Last night we took them out of the brooder and let them have the run of the corner stall. To do this, we moved Stella and Horton, our Nigerian Dwarf goats out to the front pasture and gave the hens and the roosters the run of the barn. Egg production is back up and it is a wonderful thing to see the chickens out in the grass and sun.
Stella and Horton are glad to have more room and fresh grass. Hopefully today. Need to start my tomatoes and peppers and eggplants—have been working far too much for the tax man ;(