I want to revamp this site to include more articles instead of just my own blog, so I will be switching over to Wordpress in the near future. That means a new URL and a whole new look. I'm pretty sure my mom is the only one who will notice, but details will be coming soon.
Though the temperatures have gone back to just barely above freezing again, spring has definitely arrived here on the homestead. Some of our flowers have started blooming and all the grass is now green and in need of mowing already. But the more fun aspect of spring is the arrival of new chicks.
We ordered our chicks from the feed store this year and our little box of mixed layer day-olds has just come in. That's the shipping box above, not their home! They are getting adjusted to the big brooder box that is now taking over the laundry room. I'll post a few more pics in a couple of days. Their cheeping is very happy-sounding in the house and they are already getting their wing feathers in.
My new camera takes great photos but the files are huge. Sorry if these take a long time to load. I should reducing them down before posting but I procrastinate enough as it is.
This unseasonable warm weather has thrown us off a bit this year, but we went ahead with our experiment to tap our maple trees for sap. We don't have sugar maples but I read that you could boil down sap from any type of maple, including our Manitoba maples (also called Box Elders apparently). Well, we got several quarts of sap out of the 4 trees that we tapped over the course of about a week. It would have gone on longer, but the nights have warmed up too much. Still not a bad haul.
We used metal spiles for the first trees and M made a few of his own wooden ones that actually worked a lot better. Our buckets were empty apple juice cans. Overall, it worked very well and we plan on tapping more trees again next year. Hopefully the weather will cooperate better.
Of course, you must be wondering about the syrup since that was the whole point of this project. Well, M boiled it down for most of the afternoon which made the whole house smell like wonderful caramel sugar. And when it was thick, he poured it off to cool.
And after it cooled, we were a little dismayed to find it was a rock-solid chunk of candy instead of syrup. I had to chisel it out of the container to get this lovely little hockey puck out. I did try a piece and it is delicious as a hard caramel candy. We haven't done anything with it yet. I'm a little afraid to try and break it up as it may shatter. Live and learn.
Though our snow is almost all gone, and will likely stay gone for the season now (yay!) I figured I would finally post this neat photo I took a few months ago when we were still in the depths of winter.
An owl came down overnight and took a vole or mouse out of the snow. You can see the feather imprints really clearly. I've never seen anything like this around here.
The snow is now mostly gone and we have just started to tap our maples. More on that soon.
A real man goes out to shoot a raccoon, then comes back in to finish baking a cake.
I am so damn lucky....
I'd like to know how 5 hens can produce 6 eggs in less than a day...
Well, our first real snow came in a few days ago (really late for this part of Canada, I might add) and the weight brought down the bird netting roof over the chicken pen. So our poor hens have been coop-bound for a few days now while M gets a new roof (chicken wire this time) put up. Our girls learned that they could get over the fence so a pen roof is necessary.
We also got them a heated waterer so I can stop going out with fresh unfrozen water every few hours. I'm sure they will love that.
Even after the darkest part of the year, our hens are still laying about 1 egg each every day. We'd heard so much about how they slow down over winter that this has been a nice surprise. Cold weather is still upcoming but the days are getting longer now. Here's hoping they manage fine until spring.