Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bee Keeping Tools of the Trade

Check out my latest Keeping Backyard Bees post to learn about the basic tools you need to begin beekeeping. Tools of the Trade

Friday, February 27, 2015

Maple Syrup Guide

According to the 7 day forecast we could experience day time temperatures above 32 next week! Time to get out the maple taps and the drill! Maple season is coming...I promise it is. So I've collected a bunch of posts, videos and recipes from the past to help you make the most of your Sugar Shack!

Sugar Bush Season
This is a post I wrote for Grit Magazine which takes you through the different processes of Maple syruping. From determining the right temperatures to start, how to identify trees in the winter, drilling, collecting sap, boiling it down, and finishing the syrup.

Tapping the Trees Video
This video discusses the best place to tap the tree. Which side of the tree, where (in relation to the roots and branches) and in which direction.

Old Fashioned Maple Kettle Syrup 
This post is all about collecting and boiling. 

Finishing the Maple Syrup
Here I discuss how to filter the finished syrup and how to determine when the sap has become syrup using simple kitchen items that you probably already have! 

Indian Springs Maple Syrup Demonstration
We take you on a tour of a Maple Syrup Class we took. I discuss some of the history behind maple syruping, some tricks for remembering which trees to tap and other interesting facts. 

Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber Tap Maple Trees, or Wait, is it an Oak?
This is a funny story about Zach and my first attempt at tapping a tree.

Maple Syrup Success! 
Our first successful boil using a Red Maple not s Sugar Maple. 

Spring Creeping
Come spend a day with us as we sit around the fire waiting for the sap to boil.

Maple Sugar Candies
Use extra or older syrup to make Maple Sugar Candies!

Brandied Vanilla and Maple Creme Brulee
Use your delicious syrup to make this unique custard dessert. 

Chickens 101

This post is your guide to all things chicken! Everything from why you should raise chickens, different styles of rearing, choosing breeds that are right for you, designing a coop, keeping you flock healthy and raising chicks. It’s the perfect place to start if you’re just starting out with your first flock, or are interested in raising a flock in the future. Be sure to check back often as more posts are being added. Community Chickens wants to help you raise a happy, healthy flock in every way we can. Visit Chickens 101

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spring Chicks

The brooder is set up and we have our first spring chicks! Here are some photos from their first day home at Iron Oak Farm. The breeds we have so far are Buff Orphington, Gold Laced Wyandotte, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Jersey Giants, Light Brahma, and Easter Eggers. Still to come are some Colombian Wyandotte, and I think I've located a Jersey Giant cockerel and a Buff Orphngton Cockerel. These are the two breeds that I'd like to breed next year. We are also looking forward to our Narragansett Turkeys and our Bourbon Red Turkeys!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wild Wednesday: Nature Photography

I thought I would share some photos from a recent visit to the Howell Conference and Nature Center. Sunday was my birthday and we were supposed to go to Bluegrass practice, but Zach got home late from work and we didn't make it. So instead we spent the day at a local wildlife rehabilitation center. 

All the animals in the center have some sort of permanent injury and can't be released into the wild. So the staff care for them, provide safe habitat and in turn, the animals raise awareness and provide education to the public. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Special Issue In Season Magazine

Be sure to check out the new Special February Issue of In Season Magazine. There is a wonderful collection of informative articles including the Iron Oak Farm post on making Maple Sugar Candies, just in time for Maple Sugar Season to begin!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Photo Friday

It's cold. So very cold here, as I'm sure it is in many parts of the country. Today it's a balmy 3 degrees. Though, I'm thankful to be on the positive side of zero. I think the whopper this week was -16, so we'll take 3 gladly. I worry so much about the animals in this cold. I wish I could bring them all in the house and let them curl up on the couch, cozy and comfortable. Extra straw and warm water seems like little defense against this weather, but for now it's all we can do. It is surprisingly warm in the barn though...I mean not warm per se, but not as frigid as you would think. Zach and I spent about an hour out there yesterday trying to figure out if the girls are pregnant and it was cold, but not numbing like it is outside. Here's some photos that I shared on our Facebook Page this week, and some from last week too. Keep warm!  

We got the wool back from the mill! 61 pounds of Mohair!

Oliver helping us collect wood for the furnace

The bobbin winder for the sock machine. Gonna give it another go.

Emmet enjoying papaya and spring greens

Weekend breakfast of fried potatoes and onions, homemade maple sausage and scrambled eggs with green onion and Irish Cheddar

My first kumquat

Bacon, blue cheese, basil and balsamic chicken flatbread

Hand forged roses Zach made for Valentine customers

Homemade Lasagna with homemade Sweet Italian sausage and tomatoes from the garden

Daily nature share. Saw this fox at the Cog Railroad at Mount Washington