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Category Archives: self sustainability

  • Happy campers

    FullSizeRender(2)Stainless steel Maine made Bison hand pump. Gets us water from 72′ deep, which at 1.5 gallon per foot is about 100 gallons that we get to pump from. We’re still not sure how fast the well fills back up 72′ deep, but we measured it at the top and it gives us a couple of gallons per hour.

    So we still need to understand how fast the water comes up the water column. We also need to come up with a solution to prevent the water from rising above the freeze line. Fortunately, we have 8 months until next Winter to figure it out.

    We aren’t drinking the water just yet, we need to wait and get it tested first. The pump operates very smoothly and pumps out a few gallons in little time and with little effort. Our effort to gallon ratio is about to go way down, this will be an enormous improvement from where we are now. Eventually we’ll run water to the house, there is still a lot of unknown on how we’ll do this, but we have ideas for manual processes that are part of a daily routine or solar instrumentation.

  • Syrup loot so far

    A little more than 3 Gallons, maybe we don’t need that well after all.IMG_3719

    We overboiled the second batch slightly so it tastes a bit like caramel.IMG_4045

  • From 380′ into the earth

    Not exactly gushing out but the fact that it reaches ground level will make a hand pump quite doable. The whole experience was quite a roller-coaster of emotions. I find myself staring in fascination at the water oozing out.IMG_3603

  • Getting a well drilled

    Unfortunately not a whole lot of water at 300ft. We’ll see where static is tomorrow and decide if we go deeper.IMG_3600

    Very impressive piece of machineryIMG_3597Not a very green process.

  • The little evaporator that could

    We fired our 2’x3′ Mason evaporator for our first boil ever. We boiled ~80 gallons in 12 hours. We’ve learned lots of lessons and will have to make several improvements to our current setup. It’s still very cool that we are now able to produce more than enough maple syrup to cover our family’s yearly consumption.FullSizeRender(2)

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    The smell is great

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    Boiling well into the night

    IMG_3491We still need to finish the syrup on our cookstove, filter it, and can it.

  • Found a small spring

    springI’ll keep an eye on it through the Summer. It could prove very useful down the road.

  • First year sugaring

    Beautiful day for new beginnings.IMG_3212

    The biggest Maple we’re tapping, 3 buckets all to itself.IMG_3278Sap came right out, it was an exhilarating experience.IMG_3248We’re doing a birch tree out of curiosity.IMG_3304The next day.IMG_3393

    Of course we had “plumbing” issues and had to prop a storage tank up to avoid leakage of the precious fluid.

    IMG_3395We pulled ~50 gallons the first 24 hours. We’re scrambling to finish getting the evaporator ready; fortunately, the following days saw a lot less sap flow which will let us finish getting our last few ducks in a row.

  • Humbling cold

    Nights bellow -20°C are forecast for the next few days and I happen to be home alone. It’s humbling to be solely responsible for keeping warm. All the evening chores are mine too.

    Getting the shower ready

    1. break the ice in little pieces

    who needs Minecraft?

    IMG_29862. Scoop out the little pieces with a milk crate (holes to let water through make it easier)IMG_30193. Let things settle for clear water

    IMG_30254. Fill pots

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    5. Apply heatIMG_3165IMG_3169


    Before dusk I gave the chicken a path to their food to stretch their legs and fill up one last time before a long night.

    IMG_3026They also got home delivered warm water.

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    I really hope they’ll be all right.


    Should be enough wood for the night, emergency fire starter kit included.IMG_3164


    I “ran” electricity to the house for convenience. I’ll do it right when the ground thaws but in the meantime this will make so we don’t have to worry so much about charging and going outside to do so.

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  • A little straw goes a long way

    They had a few mercilessly cold nights, we bring them hot water in the morning and let them stretch their legs on a little straw patch. They look relieved and happy to have made it through the night.IMG_2784