RicelandMeadows


Maple Season 2018
February 25, 2018, 8:47 pm
Filed under: February 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

maple2018

February 25, 2018

This year’s season started off in a BIG way! We tapped a week ago today. The ground was slightly frozen and a little snow covered the ground. It was like a picture from a New England farm scene. We laughed and worked and had the tapping job done in no time. The sap started to drip by late afternoon.

On the next day, Monday, we installed the unloading pipe for the new tank. It was raining steady. We waited as long as we dared, but finally had to work in the rain. We got soaked to the skin, but before dark, the pipe was set and the sugarhouse was mostly ready.

unload2018

The new tank receives the raw sap. The sap coming into the tank gets filtered as it fills the tank. The sap gets filtered again as it pumps inside to the big tank that feeds the stainless steel evaporator.

Now that the new tank is in place and working well, we will make a more permanent unloading pipe support structure. I guess that will be an upcoming project, because for now, this works very well….and there is no time for any other projects!

boiling2018

We started collecting sap late in the day Monday and finished after dark. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we gathered sap and boiled until after midnight. Those were some very long days. Friday and even into Saturday we boiled to empty all the fresh maple sap in the tanks. I went through a lot of wood. Thankfully, the sap had quit running by Thursday afternoon … so, for now we are caught up. Tomorrow I will do some additional cleaning to make ready for the next sap flow.

The maple season, just like making hay, is 100% dependent upon Mother nature. We need cold nights and warm days to make the maple trees drip sap. I am very glad that she gave me a rest today. I think the horses are too. We are now pretty much in the swing of this spring dance, called maple syrup season. The steps are not new. When the sap runs, the maple syrup producer does too!



A Little Help From My Friends
July 31, 2015, 7:08 am
Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Flocking together

Flocking together

July 31, 2015

Often I write about what is new around here, the projects that I am working on and the ones in the planning stages. It is true that I stay busy here on the farm, but it is not all about me. Much of what I do is made possible by friends of mine and my family. Even on days when chores are the only thing accomplished, my wife works hard behind the scene cooking meals, packing lunches and washing a mountain of clothes, to keep me going.

I rely on different guys for work on motors, others for fabrication and some to just lend a hand on any job. I have friends who are builders, farmers and fellow maple syrup makers. We may not work together, but we bounce ideas off one another, talk about markets and trends or where to buy the best lumber. This network of friends is a blessing and something for which I am very grateful.

I realize that I too am a friend to others. It is important to make myself available to them on occasion. I have been searching my life a bit and fear that I am sometimes too busy to make that happen. I work a full time job, write a column in Rural Heritage magazine, am the township zoning inspector and run this farm. I have decided that something has to give. I am not sure yet just what, but I will create a break in my business to visit friends and family and to make myself a better friend to them.

They say “Life is not about the breaths you take, but rather the moments that take your breath.” I have my head down working perhaps a bit too much and may have missed a few of those moments. I vow to change my behavior and live more for others and enjoy “the ride” a little bit more. I will still be found here immersed in my farm work, but I will take more time to lean on the fork to visit 😮