Last Snow of the Season (?)

IMG_7147Every year at this time we get out last big snow! This one caught me flat-footed. Only an inch or two of snow was forecasted so I didn’t cover the chicken yard. I did cover the dust box but that was all.

We went to bed with a dusting of snow and woke up with 6-8 inches of wet heavy smothering everything!

IMG_7144A few days previously it had warmed into the 50s and 60s and the chickens were out in their yard and pen and even free-ranging a bit. Boy were they mad when I kept them cooped that day! They quit laying and squawked themselves hoarse. Today is nice and sunny, so I dug their yard out, scooping the snow off the hay bedding the area and then fluffing it with a pitchfork–my aching back. (I’m reclining in The Command Center typing this after downing three ibuprofen.)

IMG_7146The snow shouldn’t stay long and is mixed blessing. We are in a drought here in southern Wisconsin and the moisture is much-needed. It has also got my maple tree’s sap running again! The weather had warmed so much that it wasn’t freezing at night. I had sugared off one batch of 12 gallons (That’s another story!) and figured that was going to be it for the season.

IMG_7143I also noticed this morning that my compost has started cooking again. I guess all those days of warm weather woke up all the decomposers in my pile. As soon as the snow recedes, I’ll start cleaning last year’s stalks out of my prairie bed and add another rough layer. (I build my compost pile all winter with leaves, vegetable kitchen waste, and chicken manure and bedding.) In the spring, I build it with the trash from all my perennial beds until I have gradually cleaned the whole yard. It’s less stressful than doing it all in a few days and then having mounds of rough stuff lying around waiting to become another layer.

I’ve had a lot going on this past month. I’ve taken a lot of picture, but haven’t had the time to write. So I’ll be back tracking a bit in the coming week to get back up to speed. Begonia

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One Response to Last Snow of the Season (?)

  1. Anita says:

    Hi,

    Enjoyed your article, as usual. We got about 12″ here.

    How do you cook down your maple syrup? As a kid on the farm with 25 acres of timber, we tapped trees and used the set-up that my grandpa had used to make maple syrup. We had lots of pails that hung on the tapping spigots. There were 2 (I think) long cement forms where the really long and big metal pans (huge and made just for that) rested upon. At each end in the cement, fires were built to cook it down. I think one pan had a bigger fire to start the cooking down process and the second pan had a lower fire as it got thicker. This is how I remember it as a kid, but I know things weren’t always as we remember them. I know each pan made several gallons of syrup when cooked down. It takes LOTS of sap to get a gallon, but don’t remember how much. If the syrup got too smokey, it wasn’t good, but I miss that ‘hint’ of the wood smoke in commercial maple syrup, plus they don’t cook it down far enough. I remember we sold a gallon of delicious, perfect, thick maple syrup for $5.00. You can’t even get a taste for that now. And I loved it when Grandma would make maple sugar candy in tin scalloped molds.

    Anyway, thanks for a trip down memory lane…………

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