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Monday, February 16, 2015

Birds & Maple Syrup


I've done a fair amount of bluebird watching lately.  They're already scouting for homes to raise their young.  This one wanted a drink from the birdbath but was wary....

Very wary...

About to go for it....

Watching the birds,  I think they are the best judge of the right time to tap trees for syrup.  When the woodpeckers start drilling the maple trees in late winter it means the sap is running, to me anyway.

I bought ready-made spiles and lines this year just to make it easier to tap the maples.  You may remember the first time we tapped our trees Goodman just cut lengths of pvc pipe.  You can read that article by clicking here if you missed it.

 I probably should have warned you that our setup this time wasn't all that glamorous, lol.  The wind was so fierce (and stinkin' cold) when I started boiling the sap that Goodman had to block the fire pit with whatever he could just to keep the flames under the pot.  This lil rig-up worked well enough though.

I had collected sap for a week (4 trees) and it took all day to boil it down to 2 pints. :)

Or 4 half pints, however you want to look at it.  I'll be doing it again in another week if the weather clears up.  Yeah, the ratio is still 32:1, but it was worth it and fun to boot. :)

Right now it's sleeting,


 but I'm dreaming of working in my garden.

I'd cut you a big hunk of fresh bread if I could pass it to you.  

My begonias think spring has arrived.  I can't wait.  
Until next time, stay cozy and warm.  ;)

The Enchanting Rose


60 comments:

  1. I think that is so wonderful you guys are harvesting your own maple syrup-hopefully next time it will not be so cold-I have not made homemade bread in years it seems-and I used to bake all of our bread. when I had to go gluten free I quit making it as much. Your begonia is beautiful
    you guys stay warm and cozy too
    Kathy

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    1. Thanks, Kathy, that begonia has actually bloomed all winter, but it's really starting to grow more now.

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  2. fresh bread! maple syrup! bluebirds house hunting! what's not to love! :)

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    1. I can't complain. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Beautiful little bird! We tapped our maple trees one year and boiled down the sap. Once. I've appreciated real maple syrup ever so much more since that experience. :-)

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    1. Thanks Judy! It is a bit of work, but we enjoy it.

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  4. A lot of work to get your syrup, but well worth it, made me hungry for fresh bread & maple syrup, & meadow tea! Phyllis

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    1. I'd love a glass of meadow tea, myself. Thanks for stopping by, Phyllis.

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  5. I just drool when I see your maple syrup jars!! And your little bird pictures are so cute! That is the type of entertainment worth watching! :) Thanks for sharing such nice, homey posts with us...

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    1. Thank you, JES, I'm just a homebody methinks. :)

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  6. Your maple syrup and bread look delicious! I am planning and dreaming about my garden as well.

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    1. Thank you! Hopefully it won't be long before we're diggin' in the dirt. ;)

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  7. Hi Toni! LOVED your post with the maple syrup! I didn't know you made your own! How neat...and delicious, I'm sure! Your bread looks wonderful...our baking day is Thursdays. I love that smell of homemade bread. We have lots of snow here this morning...so I'm not dreaming about gardening...yet! I think I'm going to sew today. :)

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    1. Hi Deb! Thank you, I sometimes take breaks from making bread, but we are loving it right now, especially since the power was out for a couple of days, so glad I had a double batch already made.

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  8. Hey! I enjoyed my visit to your neck of the woods. Here in my part of Ohio it is still bitter cold , 2 degrees right now. But hey, we are supposed to get up to 20! It is my second day without water due to breaks all over the village. I am REALLY dreaming of Spring! Your post made me smile, all that wonderfulness there. Have a piece of bread for me...extra jam, please. :-) Darlene

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    1. Hi Darla Mae! Hope your weather is clearing and warming up. We finally have power after two days in the dark, lol. Do you have a blog? Send me a link if you do, please. :)

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    2. Morning! Let me think, two days no water or two days no power?? I think you had it worse! Although we ended up with a busted kitchen pipe and flooded floor because we were gone when the water came back on. (sigh) All fixed now, but I am really ready for Spring. Tonight's low will be -13.
      I don't have a blog, but I sure enjoy yours!
      Darlene

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    3. Oh my, Darlene, your temperatures are much lower than ours. We were only down to 4 above freezing this morning.
      I feel for you about the busted pipe and flooded floor - glad it's fixed. My laundry room has been flooded 3 times but not from frozen pipes, it was a glitch in the washer motherboard. Argh, lol.
      Amen to being ready for spring! So glad you enjoy the blog. :)

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  9. No power here today, Y'all. :( Lots of ice though.
    So glad you popped in to visit...I'll be back when we have power as I must conserve the phone battery. We're okay, but lots of folks need power.
    Send up a lil prayer for that, please. :)

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  10. I think you are pretty amazing. I love pure maple syrup-it is a luxury item we buy every other time we buy syrup. We are warm and cozy at 78 degrees yesterday. I think I would love 4 seasons instead of 1. Have a great week!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Elaine. I just do what I love which is just down-home living. I'd love some of your weather right now.

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  11. Aw, the stairs! That makes me feel like staying at home even more. I never tried maple syrup -I think I could buy some at a delicatessen shop but there isn't any where I live. I wonder what does it taste like. :-)
    Stay warm and enjoy bird watching!

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    1. Alhana, maple syrup is sweet, rich and almost buttery tasting ... to me anyway. Wish I could pass you some. :)

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  12. I have been doing a lot of bird watching myself...lovely bluebird! I haven't seen one in my yard for years but used to all the time :(

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  13. Lovely shots of the bluebird! Your begonia's are gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly, they are two of my favorite things.

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  14. Hi, Tony! I actually heard a bird sing one morning last week, but now we are covered with about 10 inches of snow. It is coming down heavily right now too. I have had real maple syrup ever. Just the fake pancake syrup from the store. I don're use that anymore though and use homemade jam instead. :)

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    1. Our daughter who lives near Blacksburg got quite a bit of snow, too.
      You might like making your own syrup, Vicki, as I know you do a lot of that type of thing. Thanks for stopping by.

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  15. That fresh bread looks sooo good! It's very neat that you make your own maple syrup. It sounds like a lot of work, but I'm sure it is absolutely delicious! Loved your shots of the bluebirds; I see bluebird houses around here, but very seldom any bluebirds.

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    1. Thank you, Bethany! We put out some houses for the bluebirds, but what they really love is a fresh water supply.

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  16. Oh, Toni, I just enjoy your down-home posts SO much! I have never tapped maples or watched it done. We thought we might try it about 7 years ago on our farm, but we had so many challenges with other things that we never did. I loved seeing your rigged-up set-up! clever and functional! Your begonia is lovely. Mine are blooming and shedding spent petals all over beneath the planter. Love their cheer in the east window :) God bless you and Goodman. Stay safe and warm, dear friend!

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    1. Thank you, Jacqueline. My begonias shed constantly, too, but I just call that a good mess and look the other way, lol . ;)

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  17. I love blue birds and bird watching, too! Thank you for posting pics of your maple syrup making! We studied this a couple years ago when we did the "Prairie Primer". I can't wait to show my son your pics!

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  18. You're welcome, and I hope your son will try it sometime. Thanks for stopping by, Jackie.

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  19. Mmmm... your syrup must taste divine! How fun to harvest it yourself.

    Lovely post, sweet friend. I enjoyed seeing the pretty bird. May you have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

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  20. Oh your bread looks wonderful...I'll take a slice! I must say I've never had homemade maple syrup....mmm! We have not seen a blue bird in our yard for a good while but I think I have seen more varieties in my yard in the past few days than I ever have! We had bluebirds before but I sure hope they will return. Last week when were in TN at our sons, I saw a pair in his backyard...they are so beautiful. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  21. That is interesting about the birds helping to indicate whent the sap is running.... I have never heard that, but it makes sense. I love real maple syrup, but we have never gone to all of the trouble that you do to have it... yours looks amazing... many pretty pictures also. :)

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  22. Lovely bird pictures and your bread looks so yummy (I'm baking too) and very interesting: I've never seen before, how to make maple syrup, thanks for sharing
    Greetings from Germany

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  23. Lovely bird. We use to do the same with maple trees when we lived in another province. This post brought back the memories.

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  24. Beautiful pictures!!!

    Have you ever done a post showcasing your dishes??? If not, I think you should do so!!!!

    Thanks for stopping by!!

    Hugs,
    Deb

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  25. Yum! You are lucky to be able to make collect and make your own syrup although the weather didn't seem favourable. I've never seen it done before, I've just read little house on a prairie or something similar where it was done. That blue bird is very cute, nice captures.

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  26. It is Marvellous to have your very own Maple syrup. Yummy! Love all the bird shots. Yes spring is just around the corner.

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  27. Nature has a calming effect to the soul when you look at it. Love staring at these photos.

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  28. Tapping maple trees sounds like such fun. I am ready for it but we will have to wait a while still. We don't usually tap trees until April. Lovely pictures of the bluebird!

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  29. I'd love to make my own syrup like that - not sure its possible here. Off to Google I thin!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  30. It's great to see your maple syrup. I love your bird photos, too. I also look forward to spring, working in the garden. It's good to have warmer weather to look forward to and working in the garden.

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  31. A slice of bread with butter would hit the spot! Very interesting to read about your syrup. I've notice a lot of robins, Cardinals and blue birds in our yard lately. Wishing you a wonderful evening. Mildred

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  32. Nice photos. I like third one the most.

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  33. Hey there! I just wanted to say thanks for following my blog! :) It made my day lol

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  34. I didn't know folks down south could tap trees for syrup! We tapped red maple one year at my daughter's FH group, here in NJ. It wasn't bad but it wasn't the real thing. Thanx for visiting Christ in Me. Sometimes I sing, "Oh what a beautiful evening! Oh what a beautiful night. I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's gunna go right!

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  35. Hi, Toni :) Just stopping by to give you a virtual hug and ask if the maple syrup's all finished. We will be having a funeral for my husband's father this Saturday, and I would like to ask you to pray that the Lord would be glorified in it. He came to know the Lord later in life and we have a lot of relatives who are far from Jesus or don't know Him at all. Pray the hymns and words of the Gospel are spoken with great love and power. Thanks, friend. I love you in Him <3

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    1. Jacqueline, I'll be praying and trusting everything done at the funeral will glorify the Lord. :)

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  36. My brother "made" maple syrup when we lived in Michigan. It was a homeschooling project for him, which he loved since it gave him an excuse to poke around a fire for hours. That stuff was really good! His came out a bit smoky in flavor, but somehow that made it better. :-)
    I haven't seen a bluebird for awhile. I don't think we have as many of them in Texas as we did in Tennessee.
    I can almost smell your bread!
    Have a blessed weekend.

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    1. I can just imagine how much fun your brother had making his syrup. This batch of mine is a bit smoky whereas my last batch wasn't at all. I think it's because the wind had the smoke going in all directions.

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  37. Snooping beautiful. I like pictures that show what is, and what people do not see.

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  38. ...I just had to stop by today and tell you that I finally downloaded 'Stepping Heavenward' by E. Prentiss which mentioned in a comment on my blog quite some time ago...oh my! Such a rich, rich book and a great blessing - thank you SO much for telling me about it! The first few sentences brought tears to my eyes...thank you! I can't wait to read more and be be encouraged!!
    May your day be wonderfully blessed!
    Love and hugs,
    Kelly-Anne

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Thank you for your comments!