It’s been another busy sugar-season week, dominated by long days and
late nights of boiling sap. This time of year we get to have all of
our meals outside by the fire as well as farm meetings, rarely
returning inside other than for sleep. Watching weather come and go,
huddling close to the dry heat coming off of the firebox or standing
over the sides, where the billowing steam hits your face. On warm days
we form a looser ring, pushed back from the heat, the intensity from
the open door of the firebox when reloading made that much hotter by
the fewer layers of clothing. I’m not sure what all of the reasons
are, but a fresh spoonful of boiling syrup straight from the pan blows
away anything you’ve ever had. By far richer in flavor than cooled,
jarred syrup. The complex flavors (as well as the straight shot of
sugar) make all of the hours sitting by the fire more than worth it.
We did manage to squeeze in the greenhouse skinning and started the
first seeds flats—onions and celeriac. We’ve begun bringing in the
horses again, a little plump and out of shape from their winter of
repose. On Friday I picked up the harnesses from our Amish friends in
Nicholville. They are beautifully reconditioned for the coming
season—broken and frayed parts have been replaced and the entire
contraptions have been dipped in oil to protect the leather, leaving
your hands coated with a sticky, sweet smell after handling them. It
is a smell that permeates the harness shop. A cozy low-ceilinged room
in the basement of a new barn. Leather and metal parts hanging by
nails cover every inch of wall space and rafter. We’re grateful to
have the horses back in action. It’s amazing how easily they move
through a muddy field with a heavy wagon, a situation that easily bogs
down even a four-wheel drive truck. The horses leave few tracks
behind, a soft print here or there compared to the deep, heavy ruts
left behind trucks and tractors. We picked up our first batch of
piglets on Sunday, cute little black pigs with stubby tails. These
piglets are a cross of two heritage breeds, Large Black and
Berkshires. Racey has returned this week from Africa! She stepped right
into piglet care as well as being in charge of the other animal chores
on the farm.
We are having our first work party of the season next Saturday, March
24th, from 9 to 1, followed by a potluck lunch. On the docket are dry
bean threshing/winnowing, compost pile flipping, and lard rendering.
As always, opportunities are subject to change depending on what the
weather and coming week brings. All skill levels are welcome and
appreciated, bring a dish to share and a place setting for yourself.
In the veggie share: parsnips, leeks, carrots, beets, cabbage,
potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, rutabaga, radish, black, white and
red dry beans and sauerkraut. More maple syrup!
In the meat share: Pork, beef and chicken.
See you tonight between 4 and 6,
Full and By Farm