We have been collecting maple sap this week as the flow has been good. We brought in our first lot on friday and by saturday evening had about a litre of nice amber coloured maple syrup. We do our boiling down in various pots on top of our two wood fired cook stoves, so we don’t get it done near as quickly as those using proper shallow pans on a proper arch but for us it works and we would usually be running the stoves anyway. It can get a little steamy in the house if we put too many pots on and fire up a real hot stove so we have to watch that or it can be a minor problem. We are not boiling down all that hard, the syrup is usually at or little better than a rolling boil so we don’t have a problem with sticky walls or sticky anything unless we spill syrup on the floor while refilling pots. Saturday and sunday were real pleasant days to be working outdoors and we spent both days at the back in a little forested valley cutting and gathering firewood and on sunday Aerron brought the sled pulled by the horses down into the bottom of the valley following a very narrow path ( at spots there was perhaps 1 or 2 inches of clearance at the sides) that took a pretty straight line at an angle down the hillside. We were a bit worried as we thought that with the slippery conditions the sled might slip sideways on the way down, or up, and become lodged against a tree; or worse, that the horses might find the footing too slippery on the up pull and that our sledful of firewood might get stranded at the bottom. It turned out that our fears were quite groundless, the sled side-slipped less than we thought that it might and the horses pulled it uphill with ease, with no slipping or stumbling. It was bumpier than when the snow was deeper and a buckthorn did snag very briefly on the harness emitting a loud crack but there was no damage.
We have been seeing flocks of Tundra Swans overhead and at varying distances since sunday. We will see them quite often during March and then they will be gone. We usually see them just flying over but occassionaly they will land nearby and we can get a closer look. On rainy days when the clouds are lower the birds also fly lower, if they fly at all, and we can then get a better view. No Eagle sightings lately, but I must try to carry a camera with me more often to catch those rare moments when we do see something elusive like an Eagle or a Coyote or Tundra Swans. We won’t see the swans again after March ends until next spring when they once again go north, though we did once see them, last fall actually on the southbound trip to their wintering grounds which I believe is the Chesapeake Bay area. Today Robins were heard twittering away, and about 12 noon 5 Turkey Vultures were seen floating low overhead, the first we have seen, though there are a few overwintering in Ontario.
Just a few photos, none taken this week.