Wednesday, March 2, 2016

We've Made It!

I always feel like getting through February and into March is a big deal.  The worst is behind us, right?  I can be hopeful despite the fact that perusing last year's Syrup Journal entries, I see the we had a low of -8 F on March 6th last year.  

February ended on a high note.  The 28th was sunny and 65 degrees.  I was cooking down sap for maple syrup again, as I had done the previous Sunday.  On the 21st, we put about 60 gallons of sap into the evaporator early in the morning and didn't get back to the house until after 8:30 pm.  I only finished off 3 quarts of syrup from that.  The photo above was taken by the light of our Coleman lantern with my phone, so it isn't very good, but you can see we have "all the comforts of home"  a couch (an old van seat) and dogs.

This week, we had only about 45 gallons of sap to put in the evaporator and started around the same time, but we were back at the house closer to  7 pm.  And I finished 4 quarts of syrup off from that run.  That means the sugar content in this run of sap was higher than that of last week's run.  That's a good thing.  

The crazy warm weather kind of put a stop to the sap run, the best conditions being below freezing at night and bright and sunny and above freezing during the day.  Hopefully this weekend we can get another boil in.  

Not much else going on around here.  The barn work is so much easier that I am having more time for things like housework (ugh) and knitting and spinning and weaving.  I actually finished my big sweater project on Monday and I washed it and it is now drying.  I will post photos once it is dry and I put buttons on it.  It came out great!  I posted a photo last time of a skein of yarn I had dyed to use up leftover dye in a dyepot and I am knitting a lacey cowl with that.  It has been nice to work on while tending the fire under the evaporator pan.  I also started a new pair of socks for me.  

I am happy to have started a new spinning project.  Last year at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival I purchased a gorgeous Shetland Wool fleece. I sent it off with Mayhem's 2015 fleece and had the 2 blended into a ready to spin roving which came out beautifully.

I have plenty of this roving to spin into yarn to knit Sam and myself each a sweater.  The yarn will match, but the sweaters will be different.  So I have started spinning for sweater yarn, and I am very happy with how this is spinning.  A nicely prepared fiber is a joy to spin and one that is not nice can be no fun at all.  I figure I need to spin about 4 pounds and hope to spin about 4 oz a week while the weather outside allows.

I spin while watching TV in the evening, and once we are staying outside until it gets dark at 9 pm or so, I won't be getting much spinning done.  That's ok, there's no rush.

I also started tearing out a closet in Rowdy's bedroom.  I decided I wanted to use that space for my sewing machine table and we have another closet in that room.  So both closets have been cleaned out and a lot of stuff has been disposed of in one way or another.  I may have quite a mess in Rowdy's room right now.  We are trying to figure out how to work around a problem with the ceiling in that closet that was probably caused by the chimney fire of 2010.  We'll figure it out.  

Winter Woods Fungi

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