No rest for the weary

As promised, we finished sugaring last week, ending at about 8.5 gallons. Doesn’t sound like much, but for us, that was a big deal. That’s about 340 gallons of sap boiled down, and many 10-12 hour days. If not for the labor, this would be a hugely profitable enterprise. As it is, though, it was still very rewarding and will likely supply us with sweetening all year long. We’ve already got down some ideas on how to reduce the labor end of it next year.

On a farm, the labor never ends. As soon as one project is finished, another one is starting up. So this weekend we all pitched in on getting our greenhouse remodeled. If not for Mike coming down with a bad cold yesterday, it would likely have been finished. We replaced most of the aged and yellowing fiberglass roof with new panels (the light! the light!) and replaced the missing or broken glass in the side walls. We cleaned out, moved around and leveled the potting benches to maximize work space. A number of small jobs left, but those can be worked on in odd moments. Besides, other jobs beckon…

Like building the 2 hoop houses whose kits will arrive this week. They too are crucial for many of the seedlings that are now thriving under grow lights inside. The hoop houses will be another all-hands project, and like sugaring, highly rewarding once we see those 16×50 tunnels up and covered in plastic.

We really haven’t made a lot of definite project plans beyond that. One thing at a time. In the meantime, though, there’s plenty to do. We will meet today with J from the Hudson Farmers Market for a farm review. We moved most of several arborist truckloads of wood chips off the driveway to a permanent place where we can ramp up the compost-making. Got our large trailer licensed so we can take the mower in for service; with all this moisture we’ve been experiencing, the spring grass will be upon us in no time. We sold out of our initial batch of elderberry cuttings, so will be gathering another batch to sell at the Jacobs Heritage Farm store in Copley. And you can always get them directly from us. We’ll pot up the cuttings we don’t sell, and grow them into larger plants for later this summer/fall at the markets.

My (Steve’s) coffee roasting side project is going well. Lots of pounds of a variety of coffees have made it through the roaster, and according to me and the family (and other tasters I’ve recruited), most were quite delicious. It’s a learning process, and I fairly quickly realized the limitations of the roaster I’d purchased. In addition to minimal controls and measuring points, I can only roast 200G at a time (about .4 pounds). So, I decided to accelerate the learning process and purchased another highly rated roaster that can do a pound in the same time period. I believe this will be a good production roaster for my small enterprise, and am anxious to get it hooked up. In the meantime, last night I roasted close to a pound each of Honduras Decaf dark roast and a Dominican Republic blend of light and city roast.  Looking forward to sampling each in a few days.

We drink a lot of tea around here too, as the drawers-full of varieties can attest. Can’t seem to do anything in a small say, can we? We’re also considering growing and packaging some herbal teas this summer too. What are you drinking right now?

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