RicelandMeadows


The Road to Maple 2021
January 28, 2021, 1:36 pm
Filed under: January 2021 | Tags: , , ,

January 28, 2021

In the photo above, taken very early this winter, you can see my road we use for gathering maple sap. I am pleased with the roads condition, especially when considering that I harvested over 60 trees late last spring. We have since cleaned up most of the treetops. This road saw many trips of not only sap, but heavy logs as well. The light impact on the land by our horses can really be seen here.

We have plenty of work to do as the 2021 maple syrup season quickly approaches. Supplies and equipment must be made ready. We are doing well in that effort this year. I am even working on a few upgrades and improvements to the sugarhouse and sap handling equipment.

The horses are getting ready too. Training the young horses continues as well. Even in the winter, there is much to be done. Animal feeding and manure handling are daily chores. These chores make me happy and feed my soul. January is all but gone. It is hard to believe that winter is waning and the days are getting longer.

Today, mother nature is sending us soft snow. Its the snow globe kind that is pretty. The woods and fields are asleep, waiting on spring, then summer. I am content to enjoy the beauty of the snow, the warmth of the shop stove and the time to rest and enjoy the farm.

We are keeping an eye on the calendar and the thermometer. The time to tap the trees is fast approaching. The road to maple is a year long journey. It begins with the last clean up of the year and starts with the first one, as we scrub tanks, pans and barrels. The wood has been stacked and dried in the woodshed for months, but the woodcutting goes on all year. Making maple syrup is a labor of love, especially when done the old-fashioned way…but for me, it is the only way.



A day for good Stewardship

One of our woodland sap roads

One of our woodland sap roads

May 4, 2015

Last year we fixed a couple of road sections in the woods. Today we fixed a few more. The trouble spots we worked on today were stream crossings. I was able to get a culvert pipe installed. The trouble spot has been a thorn in my side for twenty years. It felt very good to cross it off the list! I would have taken a picture, but it was close to dark when we finished and I was too tired to walk back there ­čÖé

Sap roads hold up pretty well because of using the horses for gathering the maple sap.I am going to build a road repairer from an old disc my friend Bill gave me. I have narrowed it down so it fits the roads better. I am adding a piece of railroad rail to drag behind the disc. My hope is that the disc will cut the ruts and the dragging rail with level them all off. I has to make a difference!

In maple syrup season, we are using the roads when the soil is unstable…in fact muddy is a better word. Once in a while we have snow, but more often it is mud. As we slog through a stream, we drag mud with us, but worse than that we make small ditches. The sled runners cut grooves in the dirt where water makes a fast exit to the stream. The silt soon fills the stream with soft mud. It is not good for the stream or any water down stream of it either. I is my goal to have all my problem areas fixed by this time next year…I only have two more places to go.

When water can trickle or even run onto a place littered with leaves before making it to the stream, the dirt settles out and only clean water enters the stream bed. By building bridges and installing culverts at stream crossings, I am improving water quality here on my farm and even more importantly, downstream from my farm!

The job of environmental steward is one I don’t take lightly. I want to be a good neighbor, it’s the right thing to do and I believe it is my responsibility. I also like the way it looks. I can see that it will be a life’s work. It is noble and it pleases me. I am teaching others as I go along and setting an example for my heirs to boot. If my heirs don’t get it…they will get the boot! I am a true believer in sustainability for a farm and for a woodland. Here at Riceland, it’s the way we do business.