Out for a walk with the dog, Tucker, yesterday after a nice new 16″ of powdery snow. I asked my son if he wanted to go xc skiing with me or snowshoeing. Nope. That was it. When I asked the dog, I got excited jumps and flips. Now that’ll do it! So off we went:
We planted a few apple trees out in the back pasture. The week after planting them was pretty dry, so I walked out to check on the little fellas and water them when I found that the deer found them first. Every tree was devoid of leaves, a few of the trees had even been stripped of everything but their main stalk. So I found some old bird netting to cover the trees – all of which recovered fine. Below are some pictures of the hay fields and some bird boxes Liam and I put up last year.
Watch the earth change and grow! Daffodils poke out of the ground even though there is still snow on the ground. Tonight’s forecast is for rain mixed with snow. I look out my window and see those beautiful little yellow and white harbingers of spring. What a delight!
We’ve begun to build at the farm. The foundation for a barn is in and we are hooking up the site for water and power. Our rebuilding project seems to go so slowly. I remind myself to put one step ahead of the other and that we are moving (albeit dreadfully slowly) forward.
It was starting to look a lot like spring when we got 2 major snow storms dumping lots of fresh snow on us. Here are some pictures of the woods and surrounding area.
Before this snow, it was looking very muddy:
Now everyone knows not to venture into muddy fields in the Spring – don’t they? Common sense seems to be running short these days because we’ve had 3 mud extractions so far. We‘ve had a lot of rain and the forecast is calling for even more.
What a season! We tapped just over 700 trees. To tap a tree you drill a hole and insert a plastic bit that connects to food-grade plastic tubing. The sap runs from the tree down a set of tubes and empties into a 1,100-gallon tank. Every day our neighbor collects the sap from the tank and trucks it to his sugar house to boil into maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
And that explains the cost of maple syrup.
But there isn’t anything that tastes so good on pancakes! It’s also delicious in yogurt with fruit for breakfast or even a little bit in coffee instead of sugar – Yum!
We got the phone call early on a Friday morning – the farm was ours! It was a long and agonizingly drawn out build up to this moment and boy did it feel good to know it was over and we owned it.
It took one day for the elation to wear off – with all those beautiful acres of woods and fields we inherited the worn out remains of a once-thriving family dairy farm. Generations of possessions – layers and layers of refuse, farm and household waste – needed to be hauled and deposited into dumpsters. Over 5 tons worth.
Snow Mountain Farm is located in Western Massachusetts. The oldest buildings on the property include a dairy barn dating back to the mid-1800’s and a house built sometime in the late 1800’s. Historically the farm was named after the mountain it sits on called Koonchaug, which means Snow Mountain in the local Indian dialect according to local lore.
There were also a bunch of old sheds on the property holding about 3 generations worth of old couches and refrigerators. We ordered a few dumpsters and started loading them up.
They say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and so with this thought in mind as we uncovered each layer we also kept a watchful eye out for interesting treasure. Old glass bottles, fence posts, horse and buggy wheels, wooden apple ladders, apple harvest bags and crates, milking receipts and records, blacksmith gadgets, square nails…
Some of the interesting things we found:
A much as we were hoping to salvage the old buildings it turns out that they were in too great a state of disrepair that we need to demolish everything. The good news is we get to build what we want and where we want it – the bad news is that demolition and construction take time.
The takeaway? Tearing stuff down is fun! It’s cleaning up the mess afterwards that is tough. Here are some pictures of stuff coming down: