As The Barn Comes Down

Earlier this week the boys and I took another trip back home, this time to install a  package of bees. The weather was fabulous (at least while I was working with the bees, not so much for the drive); the leaves were finally budding out and everything was starting to look green.

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Photo by my Mom

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Photo by my Mom

  Finally, I was able to see what progress had been made on the barn. Amazing! It’s really coming along. See The Parker Dexter Barn for lots of photos of how the barn used to look and the first stages of barn removal. There’s also this postcard of the barn Long Ago.

Here’s the barn in it’s current, nearly skeletal state:

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The barn removal is progressing nicely; the bees are in their hive…

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it’s finally spring! I think I can safely say we are all pleased.

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Photo by my Mom

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Over the Weekend

Last week Struggling_along brought me home a surprise – a stack of metal syruping buckets with lids and spiles! It was like Christmas. I had resigned myself long ago that metal buckets were too expensive. Luckily Struggling_along just happened to be at the feed store at the right moment (ordering this year’s chicks) and he was able to snatch up the last of these previously used buckets sold by a man getting out of the business. Score!

And it was perfectly timed too as this weekend it finally warmed up, and even rained!

We went from this:

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To this:

DSCN9841It’s finally starting to look like spring is on it’s away around here.

DSCN9868So the boys and I went around identifying our maples and fighting over who got to drill which tree and whether the person who drilled also got to use the hammer to tap the spile in. There was also much sap sampling- straight from the tap of course.

DSCN9869Since then I can’t count the number of times we’ve crossed the field to check on the sap levels. We have 4 buckets on each side of the field. It’s quite the journey across because it’s a ways, plus, every step has to be taken with caution. Sometimes the crust holds us up, or we may sink an inch or two, but the next step may send us suddenly lurching forward, sinking us down past  our knees and potentially onto our faces, or alternatively, stuck like a turtle on our backs. It’s all good fun though.

DSCN9874So yesterday Ishi and I went around and collected the sap.

DSCN9878The first buckets didn’t have too much sap yet. I use my own methods to boil the sap down; it takes a while, so I don’t want build up too much in sap storage.

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DSCN9848The trees on the other side of the field held a surprise for us-

DSCN9890our first full bucket. Those buckets are deceptive – they hold a lot! It just about filled my 5 gallon pail and with the little bit from the other buckets I had a slow return journey trying not to slosh sap over the sides of the pail.

DSCN9891Boiling it down has begun. Here’s to a great season- and syrup on waffles!

Here are some links to last year’s sap collecting posts back in Maine, using our previous collection method. An informational how to: Sap to Syrup  and photos: Tapping the Trees: A Short Photo Essay.

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Ezra’s Pullover {KCCO/Yarn Along}

 I had just finished binding off Noah’s sweater (well more of a vest really) when Ezra asked me, in a rather injured tone, when I was going to knit him something. So I asked him what he had in mind. A  shirt, he replied. So I pulled up some patterns on ravelry (of course) showing him a few that I thought might fit what he had in mind. No! he said not like that. Oh.

That one. He was very confident. But in black.

Of course! How silly of me to suggest those other patterns. This one is so very much Ezra.

 A while back struggling_along came across a yard sale with a box of free yarn. Being the kind husband that he is he picked it up for me. This black is one of them. And it’s exactly what I needed. I did a swatch and now here is the beginning of the back.

I have a feeling there will be a lot of sweater knitting this winter. In less than a week we went from summer to fall:

to snow!

How did the boys feel about it?

There was much rejoicing, and a box full of Christmas ornaments were found and hung up!

While I’m not crazy about the recent weather it does have it’s perks:

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this post is part of KCCO and Yarn Along

     farmgirl friday

New Additions

When we moved to Vermont we had to reduce the number of animals we needed to house. So off went the pigs, 3 of the goats, all of the chickens and a few of the rabbits.  But we still had to pick up the chicks we had ordered earlier in the year. And aren’t they loved!

I can’t even count the number of times a day we rush out to check on the chicks! And of course everyone needs to hold one. They’re certainly well cared for!

I can’t wait till they start laying.

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