Friday, March 22, 2019

Maple Weekend Success And More!

Thank you to everyone who showed up to make the Potter-Tioga Maple Weekend a success!  We had so much fun showing you the sugar shack and the rest of the farm and I hope you liked it as much as we did!  Bones N Banter provided lunch with their delicious brisket and pulled pork sandwiches.  I hope everyone got one because you really missed out if you didn't!

We were excited that our little sugar house made the Bradford Era!
Fitz is explaining how the evaporator works.

The maple season came late this year.  We had a few good runs of sap and then it got cold again.  The positive side of the cold snap is that it kind of "resets" the maple season.  Yesterday was a good run and I hope to have a lot of sap in the tanks today.  There's a specific sound that makes the maple syrup producer's heart soar.  You can hear it below:

The sound of sap running into the tanks!  We're not "on vacuum" which means all the sap in our lines is fed into the tanks by gravity instead of a vacuum pump pulling the sap from the lines.  So that sound is pure sap running downhill from many, many trees.

Just in time for the Maple Weekend I had some new chicks delivered.  I wanted the children coming to have an opportunity to look at the cuteness.  The new members to my flock will be buff orpingtons,  easter eggers, dominique, cochin, barnvelder, welsummer, and giant whites.  

Finally, some sun and the animals sucked up the sunshine!

The turkeys have decided it's the breeding season and are courting the poor lonely hen!

And the horses are getting to go across the road to their summer pasture during the day.  

Here, they follow me to the gate from the barn...

...And here, the walk off into their ten acres of grass.

The old girl, Sassy, is 31 years old and she's having a harder time with the cooler weather.  As an old horse, she's starting to get gaunt looking. She wears her blanket to give her a little more warmth so she doesn't shiver off her weight.

I don't know if it's possible that the animals are happier than me that SPRING is coming!


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Potter-Tioga Maple Weekend with Bones 'N' Banter! March 16th and 17th

We are working hard to get ready for the Potter-Tioga Maple Weekend on March 16th and 17th.   We sure hope the maple sap flows for us to provide some freshly made maple syrup to you.  

The temperatures should be warm and lovely this week and then Saturday will be a little bit chilly.  This is a good thing because hopefully, the farm won't be as muddy.

We're very excited that Tadd Ostroski will have his marvelous Bones 'N' Banter barbecue set up with us again this year.  I know that meaty deliciousness draws a lot of people.  
He says he hopes to make it on Saturday AND Sunday!

The horses look forward to horse treats from our guests.  New chicks will be delivered on Thursday and be out in the barn to view their cuteness.  Piggies are making a final showing before heading to "freezer camp".  And chickens, turkey, and ducks can't wait for extra sunflower seeds.

P.S. In your travels around Potter and Tioga counties, if your navigation attempts to take you on a road that has a sign reading "No Winter Maintenance," do NOT go that way.  You will most likely find yourself needed to be towed out of mud or snow.  Please allow yourself to be redirected!

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Go here for a link to the brochure above.

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We look forward to seeing you!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Snow Bunny Tails and Tapping Thoughts

The Potter Tioga Maple Weekend is coming up fast and we'll have sap boiling in time to bottle some nice, freshly made maple syrup!  

We'll have lots of sample recipes for you to try and a walk around our mini farmyard for the kids (I even have chicks coming a few days before the Weekend)!  

Although it's listed, we're sad to say will not have the bourbon maple for sale because we sold out and we haven't made any new maple yet.  Once we make the new maple and put it in the barrels we need to let it age! 

It's crazy! Last year the season pretty much ended before the Maple Weekend and this year it's barely starting!

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Tadd Ostraski will be set up again with his prize-winning delicious barbecue!

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Come early because he sells out fast!

The snow and ice continue to come down here... but it looks like spring may start and the maple season will begin this weekend!  The above freezing during the day and below freezing at night temperatures needed for a good maple sap flow are in the forecast!

Walking out to our sugar bush I noticed that the snow had the perfect fluffy texture to create what (to me) looked like bunny tails at the bottoms of slopes.  Each step would start a little avalanche and it would roll it to a puffy little "tail". 

The little rolling balls freaked out my dog, Ladybird.  

We like to carry our maple tapping tools in a five-gallon bucket, but I got tired of fishing around for the tool I needed.  I would drop the pliers that I use to pull taps in the pail, then drill my sap tap hole, then root around for the rubber mallet to pound in the tap, and then turn around and dig for the pliers that had sifted to the bottom of the bucket.  So I invested in the "Bucketeer".   It definitely makes it a lot easier to find the right tool.  I found it on Amazon, here.

One of the things that I hate about working in the sugar bush is a nasty little growth that here in North-central Pennsylvania they call redbrush.  Growing up in upstate New York, we called them "prickers".  You pick which name is more fitting!

And they are all over the place.  And nine times out of ten, just as you're drilling a sap tap hole one of them gets up between your thighs and starts scratching the heck out of your inner thighs.  The heavy snow has held them down a bit and we have a bit more protection because the weather has been cold enough that we have to wear our winter coats, but in previous years my arms have looked like I got in a fight with a wild cat.  I can tell you, there's nothing that wakes you up faster than getting goosed by one of these!