Thursday, September 26, 2013

I think the time has come...

...the time that I need to actually pay attention to this blog. You may notice the large gap between this post and my previous post...over TWO years. A lot happens in two years. I'm not gonna try and do a 2-year recap in one post -- but I think it is important to highlite the "monkey wrench" that shut down this blog, completely derailed our community and put the brakes on our "farming" endeavor. In August 2011, Hurricane Irene flooded our world, changing landscapes, lives and perspectives forever. Although we had no personal property damage of note, the financial implications hit us hard. Our focus over the last 2 years has been re-building -- our pysche, our credit, our livelihood, our goals. After experiencing days without access to town and weeks without electricity, our primary goal is to be prepared for surviving, and thriving, under any circumstances. Here's what Irene brought us (everything between our big bridge and Route 28, including houses and our access to the world, is underwater -- lots of water) :

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Garden's Growin'

This year we (OK, Zenka) turned under all of last years plots, amended the soil with lots of good stuff and re-worked the whole layout.  It's looking awesome! Technical difficulties (old camera, old laptop...) have made taking pictures and making posts really challenging...  Here's our cucumber trellis in progress -- It's made of reclaimed wood...we have some sliding glass doors that came from a renovation job and these mahogany thingamajiggies are window pane inserts.  Way to grow in style, cukes!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It Rained and Poured, and Rained and Poured...It's the Catskill Mountain Rainforest!

We have been eagerly awaiting the end of the frost era so that we can begin our direct sow plantings.  But then the rain began, and didn't stop for days....  But work must go on at the Farm, even in the slog.  There's one thing that wet weather is really good for (besides mud for wallowing but we don't have any pigs..) -- Burn Pile! 
And how do you keep a good burn pile fed with plenty o'brush?  Child Labor!  Yep, Zenona has learned to drive the tractor and for now, is eager to help with yard work.  I made some cute videos but they are taking forever to load up to blogger...maybe if I put them on youtube first. Ugh.. Anyway, trust me, the girl's got skills....

Rain is also extra good for asparagus...check out these monsters!  They are the one's growing 'wild' in the back of our garden, remnants of Laurel's Garden.  My yearling asparagus is doing pretty well but these ones are just ridiculous. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


We're here....not much of our stuff is, but we're pretty easygoing folks. Home is where the TV/phone/internet & beer are!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What the Hail??

Here we are well on our way toward's actual spring and busy in our renovation work and what happens?  Crazy white stuff falls from the sky.  Really. (Don't run to look out your windows now this happened on Sunday...really.)

But, it was a nice interruption in our frenzied renovation efforts. Look - a wall with no paneling!!!
Here's 1/2 of our tired crew....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Holy Sap Season, Batman!

We're certainly new to this, but it is pretty clear that this is a phenomenal season for maple syrup!  We have had consistent production for four weeks...and for the past few days at least, we've collected about 16 gallons of sap per day. Drip, drip, drip, boil, boil, boil  has become our mantra.  Frankly, we are all getting pretty sick of sap about now.  And we have syrup needing to be finished and jarred all over the place.  Ugh.  On the positive side, the extended season has allowed for our evaporator to evolve along with our skills at taking sap to syrup.  Look - we even have a roof!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Evaporator Upgrade!

It became pretty clear that our first-attempt backyard evaporator was just not getting the job done. Too long to boil too little.....  Zenka paid a visit to a local sugarin buddy and after a walk through Sasha's Sugar Shack, it was back to Fox Hollow for sap set-up Take Two.  A man with a pan and plan!

Here's our revised set up, once again using stainless steel sinks:

Look at all that steam!!!

Here's a better picture of the sap boiling...unlike pots, sap likes (needs) to be watched.  It's more fun as a family event...even Oliver enjoys being part of the sugarin' scene.  He likes to crunch on sap-ice.

More surface area, more sap boiled and at the end of Big Boil #3, more syrup!!  We haven't finished into jars yet, but looks to be well over a gallon.  If the temps hold the current pattern of cold nights and warmer days, we'll have a 4th weekend to refine our sap refinery..