Archive for March, 2011

Maple Syrup Time

Last year's maple syrup operation

March and April are sugaring months up here.

This week the temperature is just about right for tree tapping. When the days are just above freezing, and the nights are just below, we’ll be ready with our (6) buckets, taps and portable drill.

Then it’s off to my parent’s farm where we’ll collect the sap and start boiling it down into delicious maple syrup.

Syrup boiling down

There really aren’t many tools needed to make maple syrup: tree taps, a cordless drill, buckets with lids, a big container to collect the sap from the buckets, a heavy pot and a good thermometer. It also helps to have a good supply of  fire wood and patience.

Last year with three buckets, we collected about 40 litres of sap over a couple of days, which boiled down into about 1 litre of delicious syrup – it was a very good (first) year!

Final Product

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A large part of my seed stash originated with my husband’s aunt, Tante Liisa. She was an avid and very successful gardener, and we spent many happy summer vacations with her at her cottage in the country. There she had apple and pear trees, a large vegetable garden and beautiful perennial borders full of huge red poppies, day lilies and peonies.

When she passed away, many of her seeds came to me, and over the years I have planted some and kept others for a rainy day.

Today, I thought I’d have a look and see what could be used this summer, and what might be a little out of date (some of our collective seed packets go back to 1991, and those are just the ones with dates on them).

Each little packet brought back wonderful memories, and I’ll always keep a few as a souvenir.

Some were a little more mysterious – when did she buy the Schwarzwurzeln and did they grow well? There are still some seeds in the packet, and it will be fun to try a few in my garden.

Some of the seeds are identifiable, and some are not, but I look forward to planting, and solving, these little garden mysteries.

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