Foggy Morning Breakdown
April 8, 2015, 10:56 am
Filed under: April 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
The ladder to success

The ladder to success

April 8, 2015

Armed with 600 gallons of water, a couple of cases of white vinegar, some bleach and huge quantities of elbow grease, I am attacking the job of breaking down and cleaning up the sugarhouse and it’s equipment. A little bluegrass and Celtic bagpipe music playing on my headphones passes the time and keeps me company.

Before the 2016 maple syrup season begins, we plan to change our three sap tanks out. They have served us well for four seasons, but the time has come to upgrade. One large stainless steel tank will replace the three current ones. The large tank will take away some of my redundant work while boiling, as well as, make the job of clean up much easier! The job will require some building construction later this year. The wood will be acquired from white pine trees growing here on the farm.The horses and I will turn logs into lumber for the project.

The addition to the sugarhouse will be small in size, but will have a giant impact on my operation. It will make the sugarhouse more user friendly, safer and more efficient. I will create a mezzanine for the big tank. The roof will be tall enough to stand beside the tank for cleaning and inspection. The little addition will create some needed storage and free up some much needed space. For now, this whole project resides in my head, but stay tuned as I make another dream come true 😮

Eating an Elephant
December 5, 2014, 11:08 am
Filed under: December 2014 | Tags: , , , ,
One bite at a time

One bite at a time

December 5, 2014

Much of my work is done for this year, corn still stands in the mud waiting to be picked, but other than that and cutting up this old white oak tree… I’m done 😮 This is going quite well. I haven’t had much time to work on it. The days that I did, however, have been productive. I will really miss this old tree and am thankful for the abundance she provides.

Imagine the massive shade her branches made. I told my boys, that Indians probably sat under her and ate their lunch, before white men had visited this part of our state. The amount of acorns in one year were immense, just imagine if all the nut crops from all of her living years were put into a pile…it would look like a small mountain. The deer, turkey and other wildlife that benefited from her mast, span centuries. Now, even in her death, she is still giving. This wood will heat homes and make many gallons of maple syrup… even the ashes, swept from the spent fire will enrich the soil of our farm…. Her whole life, given for the benefit of the place where she lived.

There is a lesson here. People travel the world trying to make a difference. Some folks spend huge amounts of money trying to make others or themselves happy. Others tend to live miserably, keeping to themselves always negative and unhappy. I can’t speak for others, but I choose to live like the old tree.

I was born and raised in this little spot on our big planet. My travels have been few and I am okay with that. I try to give of myself, realizing that some will think I am a crazy fool, but many enjoy listening or reading about my life experiences as I share knowledge. I hope that I have sown some “acorns” along the way. I hope that I have provided comfort and safety for a few and enriched the lives of many, by just being me… That way at the end of my life, only my ashes will drift on the wind, because my memories, my hopes and my dreams will live on…. through the lives of those that I have touched… What a wonderful thing!

Tunnel Vision
November 16, 2013, 1:56 pm
Filed under: November 2013 | Tags: , , ,
Snow covered sap road

Snow covered sap road

November 16, 2013

   Why is it that when the way seems so clear,  we often deviate from the obvious?

   Life takes us on some interesting journeys. I remember thinking, back in high school, that I was going to be a butcher. I planned, studied, worked for free and did anything that I could do to learn the butcher’s trade. I was sure that my career choice was a good one. I held that dream for almost twenty years. I did indeed become a butcher. I learned all aspects of that trade and even became quite good at it.

   Farming has been a part of my life since before I was born. In fact, the night I was born, my mother had to quit the evening milking to go to the hospital to have me 😮 It feeds my soul to be around animals and to have my hands in the dirt! It took me a while to find my way, but now I farm everyday. It makes me whole and keeps me grounded.

   I did not inherit a farm. I had to find a piece of ground that fit my vision. I had to buy that ground and everything that went with it. I learned to build, to repair and to find a way where no way existed. My dream always in sight, my goals defined and my shoulder to the wheel.

   I have the blessing of a good wife who believes in me and shares my vision. She lets me farm, trusts in my decisions and loves me beyond measure. This makes my dream possible and my goal a reality. She simply lets me be me.

   When I was young, I could only see myself in the career of meatcutting. I persisted even when things went bad. The jobs were low paying. The work was hard. I bit off a bigger payment than I could make when I bought a slaughterhouse of my own. After a long fight, I gave up, closed the business and moved on.

   The next few years things changed for me, but I stayed close to the land. That is what kept me grounded, satisfied my soul and let me dream again. I took a job in a factory that helped me to dig out from under a mountain of debt that led the way to be here on my farm today.

   I am glad to have had the bumps along the way. It gives me character. It educated me and helped me to become more flexible. My hands now work where my heart is happy. I still work the off farm job to make ends meet and continue to pay down debt. My goal now is to get squared away and work to become a full-time farmer …what ever that means 😮

   It is important to follow your heart in love and life. Define your plan and keep your goals in sight. If things change…adapt…don’t lose sight of your vision for your life.

   Incidently, the farm wash-house where we will butcher our meat, wash vegetables and extract honey is almost completed. I will farm and I will tap my butchering skills every now and then, allowing myself to scratch an old itch. So, is it a vision or is it tunnel vision?   You decide.