When we got back to work after the winter break the temperatures warmed up and the tree sap was flowing. The farm crew set up taps and jugs on 14 maples around the property. Every other day some of the team would collect the sap, and light a fire outside to boil it down. The boiling could take a morning, an entire day, or until midnight. Our record day was 200 litres of sap, which made 4 litres of maple syrup. The total syrup made was about 20 litres. I believe every house has enjoyed a bottle or two by now. This venture kept us busy outdoors when there was not much else going on.
January and February were less dreary with the excitement of checking how much was collected, and tasting the syrup helped lift our moods too. The other event in February was our two calves were born. We named them Maple and Birch after the syrup. They are enjoying the area surrounding the barn that was fenced last spring. It is sweet to have them close by while we work. We have been planting shrubs and trees around the barnyard for the sheep to browse and keep healthy. We have salmonberry, black cap raspberry, hazel, elder, willow, hawthorn, and will soon add some herbs.
We put up fences to protect the plants from the cows. The other fencing project is to take down the garden fence. It is an enjoyable opportunity to be destructive! The farm crew has also been busy with firewood, splitting, loading, and stacking. We have been making compost piles and have put biodynamic preparations that were made on the farm into the piles. Very soon they will be used for the garden and fields.
Another fun task that we have taken on is the shitake mushroom logs. Some were set up by the forest workshop a year ago and they already spored shitakes this month. We plan on setting up more logs. Overall there is an abundance of work on the farm, and we have lots of laughs together while we work on projects. And somedays all we do is dig one hole, but it’s the small things that make the day special on the farm. We are looking forward to lambing in April, and getting a few pigs.