Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sap's Rising!

Yes, thats a tiny drip of maple sap just about to fall into the bucket.
Our first day above freezing has started the annual sap flow.  Right now, it is just barely dripping.
What you are seeing in the photo is the spile (the tap) with a little drip of sap about to drop off.
I tried really hard to catch a drip in mid-air, but didn't quite make it!    There is only about a half cup of sap in each bucket right now, and it is really almost invisible, so I didn't get any photos. Sap, as it comes from the tree, is clear like water.
There are many cultures where it is believed that drinking the sap straight from the tree is a good health tonic.  It's a tonic for me to see the process starting.  I am doing a little happy dance. We are rank beginners, and sure to make some beginner mistakes this year. That's okay.  Life is about learning and growing, and expanding our experiences. Nobody ever said any of us have to be perfect. Starting small with just a few taps is a good way to go I think.  I will be chronicling (is that a word?) our sugaring adventures,  so follow along!
For t hose of you who don't have maple trees, did you know that almost any tree can be tapped? Birch trees are commonly tapped up north, as in, far north, as in, Alaska..  It's just that maples, especially sugar maples, have the highest sugar percentage in the sap, and require the least amount of work.  Maybe next year, we will try some birches too. Here is an interesting article about birch syrup.
making birch syrup

I needed to shovel off the driveway again this morning after last night's snow. It was only a few inches, but these warmer temps produce a heavy, wet, slushy snow, and it was quite a chore.  Having to throw shovelfuls of heavy wet snow onto snowbanks  that are over my head , repeating this hundreds of times.. well, it was a good workout. I almost stopped in the middle to take a break, but then got into the ultrarunning mindset and just kept plugging away till it was done. Now I am tired in that good way after doing some good hard work.

So, I opted for an easier task this afternoon, which was, (drum roll please) SETTING UP THE CHICKEN PALACE!!!!  I got word that my day old chick order should arrive in about 5 days, and so I took the time today to wash and dry and set up everything so it is ready for their arrival.   I plan to do daily, or almost daily, videos of the new babies, so you can watch them grow.  So, stay tuned for the "Chick Flicks", coming soon to a blog near you!
Here is a photo of my set up.  I will talk about what  the chicks require in a future post, so if any of you are maybe considering getting some backyard chickens, there might be some useful info for you... For now, just a picture. It's a dog crate, but it could have been a cardboard box... We will talk about all the possibilities.

The Chick Palace.  It will never be this clean again!

And for a thought, the words of an old hymn that has always been a favorite. I think about the abundance of the earth, how very fortunate we are to be here, to partake in that richness, and try to remember where it all comes from.

Summer and Winter, Springtime and Harvest,
Sun, Moon, and Stars in their courses above.
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Great is Thy Faithfulnes, Great is Thy faithfulness
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
All I have needed, Thy hand has provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

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