Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Early February

Once February has arrived I always feel spring can't be far off.

As promised, here are a couple of photos of our pond now that it has reached it's maximum fullness. My Aussie, Rowdy, can hardly wait for warmer weather so he can swim. It doesn't even have to be that warm for him. I predict he will be in by March.

Sam and I are going to try a new venture on the farm this month. We are going to try tapping maple trees and producing our own maple syrup. With about 180 acres of trees, we have quite a few sugar maples, but will start out this year tapping only a few to see how it all works out and figure out what kinks need ironed out. I attended a class this past weekend and we have also visited another local farm during sugaring season. Right now we are gathering the equipment we need and should be able to tap some trees in the next 2 weeks. The sap flows best when the daytime temperatures are above freezing, but still below freezing at night. It is a lot of work, as you need to collect and cook down anywhere from 40 to 60 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. And during the evaporating process, the syrup needs to be tended constantly. Fortunately, all this work occurs during February and March when there is not a lot else going on on the farm, so it could be just about perfect. I'll post our process and results on this blog.

The rest of the
farm animals are doing well. The alpacas are all wearing nice heavy fleeces, which they will need to be divested of in another 3 months or so. We generally start shearing after mid-April. We have started earlier than that in the past, only to have a cold snap and have to find old sweat shirts, etc to put on shivering animals.

Aren't they cute?

Since I spend a lot of time working with our alpaca fiber, I will be posting what I am currently working on as I write each post. Right now I am spinning a 3 ply 100% alpaca yarn to knit a cabled sweater. I just completed a cute pair of knitted fingerless mitts from some hand-dyed 100% alpaca and will probably start a pair of mittens this evening.

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