March 20, 2013 Farm News

PLEASE NOTE:  I just discovered the JUNK  file on my e-mail page. I had never bothered to look until just this week and was astounded to find four e-mail messages that the system had deemed to be junk, I have no idea why as they looked pretty much like other messages I had received at the IN BOX before. The “junk” is held for ten days then somehow disposed of in a more permanent and inaccesible fashion. If you have sent me an e-mail and I have not responded then contact me again. I have no idea how many or even if any e-mails may have received the “junk” treatment. 

Another week passed and winter is with us just about as ferocious as it has been for sometime now. I must admit that the temperatures are now generally creeping up a bit but there are sometimes those overnight or even during daylight plunges in temperature to the minus 10 or so values. If winter carries on too much longer we are going to experience real delays in the start of our growing season as our greenhouse is unheated and we can’t start plants until they can go out into the greenhouse.

Sunday was a perfect day, Aerron and I worked collecting wood at the back in a nice sheltered little valley and it was quite pleasant. We brought the horse sled down into the valley and though it was a little icy in spots the horses managed alright both going up and down.  We took three loads out, nice dry wood. I’ve mentioned it before but it is probably worth repeating that we are only collecting dead wood. There has to be a real good reason for us to cut a live tree, maybe if it is compromised in some way, so that it is quite obvious it will be a dead tree in a year or so anyway or if it presents a danger or if those trees growing near buildings, eg. our house, are too close and getting so big that they threaten the structure, but even so we delay cutting those until it is well beyond the time when it should have been done. We often will leave dead trees standing just so that there can be some dead trees standing to provide habitat and food sources for insects birds and some small mammals such as chimunk and squirrel. Dead trees can often provide support for grape vine as well and grape is a very important part of the ecosystem.

The maple sap collection has dwindled to nothing. We need below freezing nights but also need daytime temps of ideally near plus 10 to get good sap flows. Sunny days seem to be better flow days too. Once the night time temps stay above the freezing mark the sap flow and the maple syrup season will be done for another year. We have tapped all the Sugar Maples over 10 inches in diameter (the minimum diameter recommended for tapping the trees and then only one tap per tree until the diameter is over something like 18 inches) and we have tapped several Manitoba Maples. We don’t think that any of our Maple trees are Silver Maple or Red Maple but if they were they would be tappable as well. Those two varieties along with Manitoba Maple produce sap with a lower sugar content say 1 to 2% instead of over 3%.

Just a couple of photos, I can’t seem to be at the right spot at the right time to photograph geese or swans or any other bird for that matter. It is not convenient to carry the camera with me at all times; for that I need to get a smart ‘phone or a similar sized little camera, they work perfectly well, but they cost money so I’ll get by with my bigger camera. Sunday late p.m. was interesting as while unloading the sled there was a constant honking of Canada Geese or a hooting of Tundra swans with the calls of many other birds occasionaly mingled in as well.

Cows and a tired horse waiting for evening meal not too hungry yet.

Cows and a tired horse waiting for evening meal not too hungry yet.













Suppertime, the hay part, lightly snowing.











After a while a good bit of snow had fallen.










nuther view of the same scene and time. Wasn't to cold though, right around freezing.

nuther view of the same scene and time. Wasn’t to cold though, right around freezing.











And then it snowed heavier, but only for a short while and by the next day much of it had disappeared.

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