Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life Can't Get Any Sweeter

My MooseBoots journey continues even though I haven't put anything up here.  As you know, if you've been here a while, it does slow, even crawl, from time to time.  Spring has come, breathing a bit of new life and energy into this path.

Today, I spent the whole day outside.  I had a few goals in mind, and succeeded in achieving them.   They were simple ... boil down the last of the maple sap, pull all of the taps and buckets, and harvest the rabbits that should have been in the freezer last fall.  Of course, there was a little extra excitement.

I hurried out the door at about 08:30 and headed straight for the woods.  I use only foraged wood for boiling sap and I was almost out.  I grabbed a few pieces of barn rope on the way out.  I am always amazed at how much dry wood I can gather in a short time, without tools.  Using only my hands and some closely spaced trees, I put together my first bundle and headed back.  I dropped it and grabbed two more pieces of barn rope.  True to my nature, the second bundle was too large to carry the whole 0.25 miles (0.4 km) back to the house.  While gathering, I did take the time to notice the Wintergreen peeking up through the forest litter and to sample one of the delicious berries.

The fire was lit by 10:00 and the games began in earnest.  While tending to the whole affair, I was serenaded by the cardinals, pileated woodpeckers, the northern flickers, the black-capped chickadees, and the crows.  As soon as the barrel was empty, Precious started gathering the taps and buckets from the trees.  I took the time to wash the barrel, the buckets, and the taps before storing everything in the barrel for next year.  As the levels in the pans dropped, I consolidated into fewer pans and washed the empty ones.  By 14:00, the boiling was complete and the syrup was in jars, bringing our total for the year to just shy of 3 gallons (12.4 liters).

About the same time, Little Fire Faery ran up to me shrieking that I needed to go look at the beehive.  We had cleaned the hive out a few days ago ... the bees did not survive this winter, in spite of the fact that there was plenty of honey.  But, I will put up a post about the clean up some time in the next week or so.  I went to look and saw hundreds of honey bees flying in and out of the hive.  I can only assume one of two things ... they are swarming and looking for a place to live or they are stealing the little honey that I left in the hive.  I hope for the former.  If the later is the case, I already have a new package of bees on order for delivery in May.  Regardless, they were fascinating to watch.

Wendy and I then harvested rabbits, thanking each for its gift.  We did try some new things ... keeping the faces on the hides during the skinning process and cleaning one of skulls.  We will have to wait and see how these things turn out when they are finished.  After all was said and done, we have put five rabbits and the hides in the freezer, for processing another day.

This has been, by far, one of the busiest days I have had on this MooseBoots trail.  It was also very fulfilling to know that I have provided for myself and my family.  It am so grateful that the Universe provide and abundance of both opportunity and beauty.  I think I should celebrate with a nap!


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