Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is it spring yet or what?

Well, we had a couple of nice-ish days, some sun, temperatures slowly climbing out of the forties, and then this morning, SNOW! But, it's to be expected in the mountains, and I wouldn't have it any other way, even when I've got Spring Fever and I've got it bad!

This spring, we did a few things to celebrate the changing of the seasons. First, I went up to the local tractor supply store and bought a dozen new baby chicks to supplement our flock of ten laying hens. We love the fresh eggs, and Colden loves watched the chickens! These little sweeties were adorable, all fluffed out - by now, they're almost ready to go outside during the day, as soon as the temperatures warm up a bit more.

Tom tried something new this year, too - his father brought home a little plastic bag full of metal cones. When Tom looked at them, he realized that they were taps for trees to get sap. So he went out to the little strip of forest at the very back of our property and tapped the trees to get sap to make maple syrup. It was quite an adventure - lugging back big, heavy pails and jugs full of sap, and then boiling it all down. Tom decided the best place to do most of the boiling was out in the garage, and he set up a little station with our portable grill that just happens to have a gas burner on it.
First, he filtered it to strain out any stray bugs or other nasties, and then it went into the large metal pot you see steaming in the picture. After he boiled it down to a fairly low level in the pot, he brought it into the house and did a final slow simmer on the stove until the syrup was thick and dark. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, and I think we ended up with about a gallon and a half of syrup, including the bottles we gave away.

The forecast for tomorrow is going to be warm, in the 70s, and reaching 80 on Saturday! I am excited about the prospect of being able to open all the windows in the house again, but at the same time, I don't want it to get any warmer than that. I am a cold-weather creature, for sure!

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