March 11, 2014

Sugar Season Commences

After we couldn't get into the woods Friday, we called a friend whose father used to run several thousand taps, but is not up to that volume anymore and he offered us a part of their sugar bush. Which is awesome. People are nice. 

So on Saturday, early, Justin, Owen, Tori, and Orianna went and tapped around Owen's house and then, that afternoon, we headed over to tap the loaned sugar bush. And to be clear, by we, I mean everyone else. I just take pictures. When we were heading out, Owen said "I can see Bet is planning to work hard--she has her camera." And that is pretty much what I did. Took pictures and watched kids and occasionally waded through the snow with some buckets or lids. I left the work up to other people. Still, if I didn't take the pictures, who would? 

Looking at these pictures, they probably seem lackluster. Really, they don't do the woods justice. The quietness, interrupted by the thwack of the hammer and buzz of the drill, the left behind tracks of animals, the occasional holler for a few more lids, the kids playing hide and seek, the sun shining through the trees in a lazy, late afternoon way.... And then home to a lovely meal, tea, and games. 

A most satisfactory day. 

But first, here are some chickens. Olivia took these pictures Saturday before we went to tap.

Chicken feet are so ugly. 

Getting things together to head out.

Conference in the woods

The trail breaking tractor

Wood shadows

Owen and Dave

Gnarled old beech tree that fell across the path

Moving it


Mound-y snow

Setting off to tap

Tapping in progress

Orianna toting lids

Lily with cold feet

Justin drilling the holds

Owen followed behind, putting the tap in and connecting tubing to the bucket

Tori came along behind Owen and tapped the tap in deeper than you could push it by hand

An old tap we found in one of the trees

Beech tree on snow

Justin's truck got horribly stuck. But it did really well up until this point. I was impressed with it!

Close up of snow

Old animal tracks

Swirl on snow

Deer trails

Owen got his tractor to pull out Justin

Taking the chains off his tractor

Hauling them to the truck

Looking up

Spring road

Amish farm

Homeward bound

Tea after supper

Elsie settling into a proper little snuggle with an Archie comic

A "friendly" game of hearts

Annnnd..... Ticket to ride. This is actually a silly picture, since Livie had already taken all her pieces off, but still, it was there, we played it. 

March 10, 2014

We try to start sugaring

We started tapping trees Friday. Or rather, we tried to start tapping Friday. We headed up to the woods on Friday afternoon in high spirits. Unfortunately, we don't have something as easy as an accessible sugar bush. We just use different parts of the woods where there is a cluster of maples. One of the best patches in almost a half mile or mile back in the woods. And this year, there is about 3 feet of snow everywhere. The tractor tried, but it didn't succeed. We had a wading-through-snow walk home in the evening light and decided to not tap those particular trees. At least not right now. It was a beautiful, springy kind of evening though, so all was not lost. 

Dogs following us 

Orianna making shadows

Our snow shadows

Getting into the deep snow

Our fearless captain

The way snow drifts around a tree

The stuck tractor

Walking home

Crusty snow

Curving weed 

Sunlight on our trail

Coming out of the woods

Winter fields

The other tractor on its way to pull out the stuck tractor

Tractor tire tracks


 Shop sunlight

Last summers thistles