Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More Snow, Then a Taste of Spring

Rowdy and Grover patiently wait while I boil sap.  Grover is not quite as patient as Rowdy.  Grover absolutely loves the Honda Pioneer.  He would be a great spokesdog for them.  If he even thinks we are going to go somewhere in it, he runs out to the barn and jumps in and waits.  Then he sits upright next to whoever is driving, with his nose pointed down the road and his ears streaming back in the wind.  Sometimes he even puts a front paw up on the gear shift.  Rowdy, as you can tell, is a little more laid back about the whole thing.

I don't know how, but somehow I have lost a whole week's worth of photos.  I know I downloaded them to our office computer last week, but I cannot find them anywhere.  And of course, I delete them from my camera as I download.  I usually go in every couple weeks and back everything up to a portable flash drive, but I had not yet done that.  It's weird and disturbing.  So this will be short on photographic content, which is sad because we had another good 4" snowfall of which I had photos.

So we had snow, then we had temps that dipped down to right at zero last Wednesday.  I must say we are all tired of that.  It was way too cold for sap to run, so our syrup production was nil.  Then, on Friday, the temperatures soared up into the 50's and the weekend was nice and spring-like.  Sap started to run and we ran a long boil-down and produced a little over 2 gallons and 1 quart of syrup from Friday into Sunday.  Yesterday, it was almost 60 and I collected 9 buckets of sap (or about 27 gallons).  Today I will check the sap when I get home and if we have more, which I am not sure of since it only got down to about 40 overnight and today it will be around 60 again, I will start the fire and get the 9 buckets into the evaporator and Sam will continue in the morning.  We can do this  with our new pan, which is nice.

While we have enjoyed wonderful springlike weather, tomorrow winter is scheduled to return and they are forecasting rain in the morning turning to snow in the afternoon and a 2" accumulation.  Have I mentioned I am OVER winter?  

 Last Thursday, before the weather got nice, Scott was out in the barn lot picking up the walnut logs he cut on our place to deliver to the buyer.  He has promised Sam that he will allow him to load a log or two before he is all done.  I will make sure I stand very far back!  

Scott cut several trees that are veneer quality and will go to a different buyer and bring much more money per log.

 The two with the orange marks are walnut veneer and the center log is actually a hickory that came down in a storm and we were hoping the buyer might like it for veneer, but he did not.  It will be sold, but just not for veneer.  Ax handles maybe.  Hickory is one of my personal favorite woods.  My kitchen cabinets are hickory and we have hickory flooring in our computer room.  That wood actually came from our farm and Sam made  and installed the flooring.  It is beautiful.

We decided some of the money from the sale of the timber should be put into the guest house since it really needs a lot of updating which equals a lot of money.  Mom replaced the roof on it in 2012, and the next big wish is to update the kitchen.  It has painted paneling and ancient linoleum that is nailed to the floor.   Sam started demolition on the paneling this past week, discovering that there was not a scrap of insulation in the exterior walls and that each piece of paneling was held on by 60 or so nails with wall board underneath.  

Sam has torn out all the interior walls now except the front wall, which will require cabinets and shelves and appliances to be moved.  

Mom and I shopped for ceramic tile over the weekend.  We love the look of natural slate, but were concerned with the maintenance of it in a kitchen, so we have chosen a tile that looks like slate but will be a more even  surface and won't need to be re-sealed every couple of years.  It will be a while before tile starts to go in.  Then of course, new cabinets, counters and more will be in order.

I am still knitting on the sweater I was working on in the last post.  I have also started to spin some fawn alpaca for the blanket project for which I still have a lot of spinning to do.  I washed the fleece last fall and have just gotten around to carding it on my drum carder in the last few weeks.  I need to get some photos for next week.  I also did my Round 2 socks in the Sock Round Robin.  My contribution is the grey speckled part.  Those are already in the hands of the next knitter and I received round number 3 in Saturday's mail and I plan to work on those the next day or two and send them on by the weekend.  I am really enjoying this.  

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