on January 29th the sap started to flow and we went out and tapped the trees. last year we tapped more and ended up making enough syrup to sell about a gallon and a half, which helped us to recoup the cost of some of the equipment (pans, extra stovepipe, a second old stove off of craigslist). this year though, we're keeping it small(er). it takes a lot of time to boil down sap, and a lot of wood. there's something to be said for all that time and wood, of course. I do enjoy it, especially on cold, clear nights. the couple weeks a year that we spend hauling wood back to the 'sugar nook' and feeding the roaring fires and being huddled up close in there with the good sweet smells are pretty nice.
this weekend, Sunday in particular, was amazingly warm. I think it topped out around 70 degrees. there were barefoot picnics (it's strawberry season in Florida- woohoo!) and loads of yard work. I got the seed-starting-mix mixed and looked through our recently received seed order. the sap fire was tended quickly and I did not linger to absorb the warmth.
also, and here is the bitter part….. we made the sad discovery that one of our hives did not make it.
|this is their super loaded with honey|
and so- we'll go into spring with one hive and fingers crossed for the best.
on Saturday, which happened to be Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday, Claire helped Mike smoke some bacon in a homemade cold-smoker. it seemed fitting to me that it was on Laura's birthday, because she (Claire) has been asking to 'help Pa smoke the meat' ever since we started to reread the series a month ago. this is a bit different from hanging the meat inside a hollowed out log like Laura did with Pa, but it'll do. we also threw in a hunk of sharp cheddar. mmm mmm good.