Spring hit like a ton of bricks

And it’s been a wet one.

So wet I can’t get the tractor anywhere it could be useful, I Haven’t been able to make it past this mess.

So wet ducks decided to come live with us. Never seen ducks on the land before.

I  can’t scoop the wood chips with the tractor so it’s all shovel & elbow grease.

I found some snow digging deep in the wood chip pile, I threw a snowball at Robin and his friend thinking I was so smart to throw snowballs in May.

Then this happened

But it didn’t last. We are adding to the orchard as we do every year. More importantly we replaced the blueberries that didn’t take, and moved the raspberry which never did well. Not everything we put in the ground thrives

I doubled the electric fence to maximize our chances of zapping pests.

We build a movable chicken coop, and tidied up their fence, of course they quickly found their way out.

Everything is in full swing, cleanups, the garden, the wood pile. Time is sparse and I have little time to document it all, or interest to do so as after 4 years, this is has all become less extraordinary in the best way possible.

Done for the season

We pulled the plug on the sugaring operation after a small but satisfying season.

We boiled for 4 days and made 5.25 gallons. Enough for our needs and some padding.

Sap started flowing a full month later than what we’re used to. For a moment we were worried the season wouldn’t even happen in the first place.

As always, early flow is clearer

This is the last year we are boiling outside. This Summer we will be building a proper Sugar House. I suspect our production will drastically increase once we don’t need to spend days outside.

A Sugar House will also make things easier logistically, we will be able to let half boiled sap sit a night not worrying about bears, we will be able to can on the spot, raise the tank to gravity feed into the evaporator.

A Sugar House will prevent the much dreaded nightly walk carrying 5 gallons of steaming hot almost syrup back home through the mud, snow and ice. Nicole took a picture to celebrate my last such walk.

Boil baby boil

The snow is still way too deep for the ATV, so this is a sled year.

30 gallons of sap is almost impossible to pull by hand on anything but snow, so the ATV takes over on the plowed paths.

Mound of snow = easy gravity transfer

Vermont can use a little more humidity.

The end of 2 days boiling, pulling at night right before it’s at syrup density. We filter at every transfer.

Finishing inside on the stove, this allows for finer control of the evaporation and the mason jars are right there for when it’s ready.