Friday, April 24, 2015

Photo Friday

It's been a great week!

Ichabod sporting his winter locks.

Buff Orphington Cockerel

Polish Chick

French Pearl Guineas

Emerging Pumpkin Seedlings

Lavender sets

Wind Egg

Our Walking Onions sprouting up in the spring weather
This was last year, what the onions looked like

Strawberries making an appearance

Oliver...being a dog

Our little fruit trees with soft fuzzy buds

Oliver Claiming a stick as his owm

Pretty Gretta

Esther, our cow-goat

Friday's sunset

New life

Leghorn Hens

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Black Walnut and Maple Syrup

I thought I might never get this post written. Spring is such a busy time for us that it's hard to get it all done, yet alone write about it. But sharing with all of you is very important to me and I promised many of you that when we finally boiled down the Black Walnut sap I would let you all know how it went. 

This year we used a new system with our sap collection.

Instead of using spiles and emptying collection buckets (sometimes three times a day)

we drilled a hole in the tree slightly smaller than this clear plastic tubing.

We ran the tubing down into a five gallon bucket with a hole drilled into the lid.

This method sealed off the entire system from outside waste.

It also made it much easier to collect the sap with the larger containers. 

We had our last sap boil a couple of weekends ago. This year we broke it into two boils.

We had to postpone the last boil because of work conflicts and the weather not cooperating.

Before we could get the sap boiled, the temperatures started warming up.

The trees stopped flowing and we had 40 gallons of sap to keep fresh until the weekend.

Thank goodness we have an upright freezer! We took the bottom shelf out and stored two buckets at a time in the bottom.

We let them freeze, then alternated buckets.

I also floated frozen water bottles in the sap to keep it cool.

We didn't get very much walnut sap at all...maybe 3/4 of a gallon. But we boiled it down and it is very good.

The flavor is somewhat nutty and maybe a hint of caramel.

It reminded me of a Pecan syrup I had at a waffle house a few years ago. In the end, we didn't even get a full 8 oz, but it was a fun experiment to try.

The rest of the boils went really well and we got over 3 1/2 gallons of syrup.  


Friday, April 17, 2015

Photo Friday

Here's our week!

It's rare that I catch a photo of Big Tom when he's not all puffed up. Usually when I get near him with the camera he has to show off. He didn't see me coming here. Notice his snood (the triangle shaped lump at the base of his beak) is drawn in. When in full display, the snood lengthens down the side of his beak. He pulls it in when he's eating so he doesn't bite it.

I set this basket of deep, earth toned eggs aside for the incubators. It's a mix of Olive Eggers, French Black Copper Marans and Black Spanish Turkeys. I think we have an incubator's full of Olive eggs ready to go tonight.

Polish Chick

Olive Egger, part French Black Copper Maran, part Easter Egger

Olive Egger Papa

Our new French Pearl Guinea Keets

Olive Eggs!

The ducklings last night in the nursery. They were moved outside last week.

Emmet enjoying some outdoor play time

First turkey egg of the season. Nest to a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte

Oliver working on his retrieval skills.

Hand knitted bunny that my mother-in-law made for our nephew

Olive Egger Gang