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July Miscellany

Maine summers are fleeting things. It seems like we spend nine-tenths of the year waiting for them. And when they come, they fly by at breakneck speed while we frantically try to slow them down and drag out the warm, full, beautiful days. As I write, the bluebirds are flying around chasing insects, the breeze is blowing through the maple trees, and there is a red-eyed vireo or three singing fit to burst. Ahhhh....July in Maine.



Misty July morning


We have a new influx of visitors lately who found us through the Kingfield Pops. We were honored that they chose to give our Maine maple syrup to the attendees this year. It was by far our biggest order ever--SO many pints of maple syrup. The folks at the Pops were a joy to work with, and we were so happy for the opportunity. Welcome to those of you who found us through that venue!


On the maple front, we are eagerly (very eagerly) awaiting our new electric bottler from Smoky Lake Maple Products! We'll be able to heat an entire 15 gallon barrel worth of syrup to exactly the right temperature and keep it there indefinitely without someone having to watch it the entire time. At present we bottle in a 10 gallon propane fired bottler that has to be monitored very closely. A 15 gallon barrel of syrup has to be done in two parts. It takes so much time. This new upgrade is going to be a game changer. We cannot wait. It would have been awfully nice to have had it on that big Kingfield Pops order!



Our soon-to-be-replaced propane fired bottler, with iced coffee on the side for morale.


Also on the maple front, we are working on an addition to the sugar house. The L-shaped addition will wrap around the back and one end of the building and will be divided up into a warm room, which will eventually have running water (another game changer), and a wood shed. We will also be able to move the sap tank out there, which will free up space in the main part of the sugar house. Exciting! It will be so nice next spring not to have to go out in the snow and dig out the wood to fire the evaporator. And to have a nice warm place to bottle syrup in the dead of winter when it's zero outside with the wind howling. But those are cold weather thoughts, and we don't want to think them right now. It's summer. And we are hanging onto every second.



Getting things ready for the new addition to the sugar house



That feeling you get when the shelves are restocked



Red efts are just too cute...

The start of the Fourth of July....


...and the finish, which of course is not nearly as beautiful here as it was in real life.



The flowers are growing...


...

...


...and so are the piggies!

The garden is catching up after a cool, damp start.

We're starting to put up for the year ahead--dill to dehydrate...


...and strawberry jam for the pantry!


Whatever would we do without Stevenson's Strawberry Farm? Look at these beautiful strawberries!



And I leave you with an early morning view from the orchard. Happy July, everyone!


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