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Category Archives: self sustainability

  • Learning the great art of building culverts

    Mud season is making evident a whole lot of wet spots on the land, and the paths they drain through. This one path has been and issue for a while and now it’s all nice, flat & quaint :)

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  • We made a big hole in the house

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    Fitting went like a charm thanks to advanced planning from 2 years ago.IMG_5098Our house is finally starting to look like a real house. One of my favorite time when building a house is discovering a view. This one is not only the biggest, is also the one turned towards our land. It was something to discover it. We now get to admire nature, the result of our hard work, and our kid playing, all in one view.IMG_5102

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  • Boiling day

    More mistakes made this year, due to scheduling & weather constraints we let ~100 gallons of sap freeze in the tanks. Because I filled them too much, a thaw actually pushed a lot of concentrated sap out the top… lessons learned…

    The stuff dripping out the top of the tank tastes quite sweet, and it’s fertilizing the lawn.

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    Fortunately we are also avoided a lot of mistakes we learned about last year. Boiling is much smoother a process now.

    Helping?

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    Totally safe, no problem

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    The smell…

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    Finishing on the stove

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    Not captured in pictures, carrying 8 gallons of boiling liquid back home at night, on snow and ice, with a thrown back. Having a shed and proper snow handling equipment will make an amazing difference in the years to come.

  • No sap production for weeks, getting the bucket ready for better weather ahead.

    The porcupine started exploring new paths, probably prompted by the warmer few days we had when we did the first round of sugaring. IMG_8282

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  • Tough sugaring so far

    Very tough sugaring so far, the weather isn’t cooperating. The conditions on the ground are horrible with ice and melting snow, you never know what will happen on the next step you take. Then you need to handle utensils in these conditions, next to a raging evaporator, glasses covered with steam, at night, by yourself. The potential is real for a freak accident that involves boiling, burning, impalement and maple syrup. We also had a wind storm which blew everything away but the cover on the evaporator thank god; a building around the evaporator will be very nice.

    Some trees produce profuselyIMG_8205

    The sap wagon
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    Got stuck… had to shovel snow out from underneath the sap wagonIMG_8211

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    Hello fogginess my old friendIMG_8215IMG_8220

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    The reward: 1.5 gallons of unadulterated maple sweetnessIMG_8230

  • The first collection

    I got about 30 gallons of sap, handling  full time work and a homestead can be challenging, I finished at dusk. It is a great chore to end the day with, I just wish I could do things at a more leisurely pace.IMG_8191

  • Maple sugaring, season 2

    We are ramping up again for our second season of Maple sugaring. With perfect weather ahead:

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    And based on a UVM study, I tend to prefer tapping early even with the chance of cold snaps as Winter & Spring figure out who the new boss is. Essentially from what I gather, you can’t tap too early but you can tap too late. I also really like the taste of early flow and the season is spread out in more manageable chunks of labor.

    This sled is proving to be invaluableIMG_8163

    The wife & kid are traveling but the neighbors are here to helpIMG_8165

    Cleaning the tanks and buckets takes a long while, it’s amazing we did it last year without a well for water.IMG_8170

    It takes a lot of work to get everything ready, we will apply a lot of lessons learned last year. I uncovered the evaporator and didn’t even have to kick out a raccoon.

  • Traveling Wood

    With decent snow, a new chainsaw, a large sled and the recently discovered “tire splitting” technique, we’ve been amassing a large quantity of wood.

    Here’s what getting it home looks like, I’ve been working on 4 poplars which domino’d onto one another during the last surprise wind storm.

    The sled & ATV combo is also a great way to move children around.

  • Ice blocks for the fridge

    Taking advantage of some very cold nights to make some ice for the fridge. Big blocks like these keep through a few warm days. Eventually we’ll want a way to make a lot more ice and a place to keep it underground, the hope it that it would keep through the Summer.

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    IMG_7980We cut pieces with a hatchet.