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In the books...

This always happens. By the time maple season is over, we are so behind on life in general, that the whirlwind of catching up has to run its course before we can settle a bit. But things have settled...a bit. And I have a chance to give a little update on how the season finished up.

The higher sugar content, along with the RO machine, cut way back on the time we spent boiling this year. Based on the hours we actually ran the evaporator, it feels like we can't have made nearly as much syrup as last year, but we came out really close with around 150 gallons of very, very nice maple syrup. We are pleased. If the night time temps had cooperated, we could have kept going, but we had a stretch where they just wouldn't get below freezing, so we called it. Of course, just a few days later, the night time temps were frigid for about a week. One morning I actually came down to find the pond skimmed back over with ice. But by that time we had finished up the very unglamorous, time-consuming process of cleaning everything up, and that was that.

The pond tried to re-freeze!

No good reason to put Simba in this post, except that she's cute!

Lots of years we go from maple season right into full-blown spring, but not so this year. The cool weather dragged on, with snow squalls here and there, and just plain chilly days. As I write though, the sun is shining bright and warm. It seems spring has finally decided to come after all.

Carpets of trout lily leaves

And trout lilies!

Hepatica--my very favorite spring wildflower

Okay---one more flower...

We seem to have a fair number of critter visitors coming to check us out this year. We've had mallards stop over in the pond a couple of different times on their way to wherever their summer abode is. This pair hung around for long enough for me to get some good pictures of them.

Overnighters at the farm pond

And one morning, during my early morning stroll down the driveway, I met a BEAVER. We have never, ever in our nearly 30 years here seen a beaver. He unconcernedly lumbered up the driveway, preferring the water filled ditches, and proceeded to roam the nearby woods for the next hour or so. It was very strange. But apparently, he was looking for a new home, and hoped we had another, bigger waterway around someplace. Sorry for the grainy picture, but it wasn't fully daylight yet.

That's all I've got. There is a chickadee outside my window singing his spring song, and I must go check it out. Happy spring everyone, from Schanz Family Maple!

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