Let's start this post with this past Saturday when the temperature finally soared and I finished boiling down the maple sap and pulling the tree taps. I had one batch boil too long on me and turn into maple sugar, but the rest turned out well. I finished the season with just over two gallons of syrup. I took Dad some and that made him happy. As most of the trees still do not have buds on them, Dad thinks the sap will run a while yet, but I have to get going on the garden work and two gallons of syrup is enough for us.
On Sunday the snow continued to melt and I was able to get into the greenhouse to clean it up. I took down my maple sap boiling rig and dragged the cement blocks back to the greenhouse to use as supports for the plant shelves. The ground was too wet and the snow still too deep for me to get out to my hugelculture bed in the forest garden to dump the refuse, so I dropped it by the wild rosebushes for the time being and the chickens have made the pile their newest play area. When the frost comes out of the ground more I will rake everything up and toss it into wheel barrow and haul it out to the forest garden.
On Monday the temperature remained warm and I was able to plant my six new apple trees that I had previously heeled in the ground. The ground is still pretty much frozen and I had to use my mattock to get the planting holes deep enough, but the job wasn't too bad. As I am trying to work back into the habit of being outdoors without overdoing it physically, planting the trees was enough sweat equity for me for one day. So far so good! You could almost see the snow melting. Later, Lara and I drove to the beauty parlor (Lori's Nook) and got our hair cut. Boy, were we shaggy! Lori's shop had been closed for a couple of months due to health issues and the fact that the water pipes froze and burst in the shop. She had a real mess on her hands and quite a time trying to get contractors to repair everything with it being so cold at the time. Thankfully her health is improving and the re-opened shop is really cute! Lara and I had a good time there.
Driving home I took note of the area flooding. Deer Creek was even with the road, and the road going to the boat landing near there was closed off. Parts of Butternut were flooded, too, though I have seen it worse. However, with the 1-2" of new rain turning to 8-12" of snow expected tonight under a winter storm warning weather advisory, I think we will see more severe area flooding. It is already pretty bad north of us. I told Tom we should walk down to the creek and take a look at our field. It may be a while before we can get out there to safely work the soil and plant. My seed potatoes are coming any time now from Potato Garden and I sure hope I can plant them mid-month (after the Feast of the Three Chilly Saints).
By Tuesday the snow was almost melted altogether, but the ground was still very wet. I was able to get out and toss composted chicken manure around trees and bushes, and turn some over in the garden boxes. The soil in the boxes is looking very nice; too bad it is still half frozen. I think this will definitely be a rushed planting season.
Eddy's exercise bike bit the dust so we bought him a new one. Tom and I had a heck of a time putting the thing together when it arrived, but Eddy had a big smile on his face when he saw it and that smile was worth the aggravation of arthritic fingers constantly dropping screws and bolts. Since the number of exercise equipment pieces in this house seems to be increasing I took the opportunity to move around the furniture and sift through boxes for items that could be donated to the hospital thrift shop. The basement actually looks pretty good now and will look even better when I clear off the small table in the center of the room where my log cabin quilt pieces await getting sewed. Not many more to finish. I am looking forward to picking out a fabric for the quilt back.
Studying for my General ham license is slowly proceeding. Right now I am working on what radio frequencies go with which band, and working through the functions of various electrical components. I have the last few letters of the Morse alphabet to study before I proceed to punctuation marks and pro-signs. I have been unable to figure out how to connect to a repeater with my new radio. I can't hear anybody talking no matter what band I tune; I only get lots of noise. I don't know what I am doing wrong; I suspect it may be something with my antenna. I'll figure it out. Learn by doing. My radio's manual is already starting to look rather sad.
The chickens are laying well but I'm not selling any eggs yet because my egg refrigerator died and I have no way to keep the eggs cold after they get washed. I won't sell anything where I question the quality. So, I'm on the lookout for a new refrigerator. I hope I can find one before I lose any chickens to the fox I've seen hanging around.
Well, I've gabbed on long enough. Be safe and well!