Angela Miller, a neighbor, runs a goat cheese operation, “Consider Bardwell,” just a few miles down the road from me. The cheese is great and it is available through her website.
Goats have very strange eyes but can be cute (unless they are giving birth on a cold February night).
Vermont farms are still full of old Farmalls.
I often go rabbit hunting on Angela’s land. Most of the farm used to be planted with corn but now she is turning some of it back to pasture for her goats. A stream runs by the side of the fields and offers good cover for rabbits.
Emily was helping me out by “being the dog” that day -- our rabbit, dog, Bernadette was taking the day off.
Emily spotted a weasel headed for a neighbor’s chicken coop and so I dispatched it before it killed more of their chickens. A few years ago, we lost half of our flock due to a weasel.
Emily with Axel who has a saphouse right by the side of the road.
He has a large arch that is fired by an oil burner, not wood. He had made over 600 gallons of finished syrup in the first two weeks of the season.
Axel still checks the syrup by hand although he uses, as we all do, a thermometer as well. When it is 7 degrees above boiling, syrup is ready to draw off.
Nothing fancy here -- the syrup is drawn off into buckets and then put through a filter press.
Here is our saphouse with the arch at full boil.
We use a pump to help draw the sap down the mountain. The sap then runs through an RO machine that takes out some of the water and then the processed sap goes into the evaporator for boiling.
Tom (on left) and Nate, his son, taking a quick lunch break with “venison tip” sandwiches.
We use wood to fire our arch and had over 12 cords stacked in the shed attached to the saphouse.
Wood is loaded into the arch every 5 minutes or so. There is an art to managing the fire for consistent heat.
Jocelyn, Tom and Nancy’s daughter, was up for a weeklong visit with her son Trip.
Grandpa introducing his grandson to a grand Vermont tradition -- sugaring.
Nate checks the boil and sap level in the back of the pan.