SUGARING SOON

While we were embracing (somewhat reluctantly) snowfall after snowfall over the last week or so I spent more time than usual in the kitchen.  I get hungry when I am stuck inside. 

And once my housekeeping in the barn is up to date, then I am stuck inside the house and the house has a fridge. Not that there is a lot in it at this time of year.  We eat out fo the freezers in the winter.

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When I cook a chicken (I grew about 50  during the summer for winter food) I save the carcasses into the freezer until I have three or four ready to make a chicken stock.

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We all know now to make stock, I almost always have a stock of some kind on the stove. Lately I have been making a chicken stock reduction. So instead of big jars of broth. I have one small jar of chicken stock, so reduced, that the flavour is full and rich and a joy to drink.

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A small amount of this jar is used to ‘start’ the next chicken stock, so after a winter of stock making, the latest reductions are the tastiest I have ever made.

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Molly. chicken-stock-065

There is nothing in the garden and the greens in the glasshouse are having a hard time due to a terrible lack of sun. We have not seen sun in ages. This winter is so dark.  So we really are eating out of the freezer. chicken-stock-059

There might be some sun tomorrow? That will warm our hearts and get these glasshouse greens growing.

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My greatest fear is that the climate change we are enabling due to the continued pollution of our air will result in even less sun days in the future. My only answer is to plant more trees to try and clean our air. But planting the right trees is pretty important too.  We need to be planting big long lasting trees – and more evergreens.  I need to focus on these this year. Trees with deep roots and a high reach and a long life. Much of the Fledgeling Fellowship Forest trees are flowering trees to encourage birds and butterflies. These are for the edge of the forest.

This year I am going to be focusing more on the big old native trees of the area. Maples and more Walnuts.  And pines. Though I am not a great fan of the pinus family. But trees are not for me.  Trees are for the next generation who will have even more trouble with air quality I think – unless we work really hard on the Clean Up.

Here is an interesting study on the subject of trees and air quality that I read the other day.

Speaking of maples – Our John is thinking of tapping his trees soon.  Just as soon as the daytime temperatures start to rise. Maple syrup season is approaching. Last year the temperatures rose way too fast and we got no syrup.

I think I may take over the sugaring this year – last time he RUINED my best cheese pot and still did not cook it down for long enough.  Though the maple syrup was very tasty!

I hope you have a lovely day

celi

WEATHER: Extra rations and extra straw for the animals tonight – it is going to be very cold.

Sunday 02/11 20% / 0 in
Flurries or snow showers possible early. Cloudy skies. High around 20F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.

Sunday Night 02/11 10% / 0 in
Some clouds this evening will give way to mainly clear skies overnight. Low -3F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.

Sun
6:52 am 5:22 pm

Moon
Waning Crescent, 17% visible 3:56 am 1:47 pm

c

57 Comments on “SUGARING SOON

  1. More than 3 new inches atop the foot or more of snow up here and yet more to come. I usually don’t grouse over snow, but, this year . . . this year seems so bothersome. I think you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head. It’s the lack of sun! Lots of soup being made here as well – but oh how much more flavorful soup must be with your broth reductions. 🙂

      • Sorry for late reply…have only made it in Spain, it was very good indeed! In Spain they also add salted pork bones and pork fat or skin to chicken stock. The sign of a good stock there is for it to be white, not clear! It’s very good indeed.

  2. Hi Wonderwoman! I have been reading various blogs rather haphazardly and silently for some time – you know, all that grief stuff. Anyway, slowly getting back into the dynamics of blogging and its delights. I felt a rush of joy reading this – thank you, Ceci x

  3. The sun came out here today – it does make a big difference.
    Do you get walnuts on your trees yet? I was just reading about pickling walnuts – they taste fantastic.

      • I believe you can pickle either – you pick them before the shell has formed. Once pickled they last for years, taste delicious and are commonly served with cheese, or inside a terrine, etc.

          • Mmm… Would there be any nut meat forming yet without any shell to protect it? Honestly, I can’t see the trees putting out the effort, before hand… According to the Foragers up here, Black Walnuts will literally keep forever, once cleaned of their husk, dried and cured.

  4. Wow, who knew you could pickle walnuts? I didn’t. That sounds great. I hope you get some light soon. Prolonged darkness is tough. Your stock looks yummy, and has reminded that I need quickly to get one started. We are having risotto for dinner, and risotto wants a good stock!

  5. At least it’s flat where you are. The dratted hill was completely impassable with all the snow (there’s a cushion of snow on the patio chairs about 14 inches thick and growing). Some intrepid fellow shoveled the front sidewalk only to expose the ice glacier under the snow, it was possible to walk on the snow, the ice is too slick. Every car on this little cul-de-sac alley is basically stuck. It’s odd, none of the people living in these buildings bother to shovel anything. If I could, I would, even if it was only here. That chicken stock reduction looks so rich, it would be lovely to have a stove to cook on (we’ve been limping along with an induction plate, a 10 inch cast iron fry pan, 2 quart pot and a 1 quart pot – everything else is gone).

      • Don’t know where but the spouse got a snow blower, the parking area is clear, the “alley” isn’t. The hill is horrible, a glacier in winter and a waterfall if it rains, steep enough to bollix 18-wheelers going up hill and requiring caution going down. Not a comfortable walk either direction.

  6. I do the same making bone broth, and it sure is lovely to sip on cold days or when one is feeling under the weather. The air quality is good here, and in the summers I often think of the woodlands behind our home and all of the way to the river bottom as a huge oxygen wonderland. We have been planting oaks mostly to provide acorns for wildlife. I won’t see much of their production or shade in my lifetime, but hopefully whoever takes on this place will be thankful for their presence. The pecan orchard is another wonderful area of shade and a food source for wildlife. There’s nothing like the cooling from a canopy of shade trees!

  7. We had unexpected sun two days ago. All the animals (and humans) stopped what they were doing and faced the light. It was glorious! Our winters are hard because of the darkness.

  8. I like “Our John’s” old Dodge pick up truck he has in his line of “MooPars”. That is the proper name for Dodge Chrysler, Plymouth autos on a farm, otherwise known as Mopar Automobiles. The patina on the old Dodge is perfect. Wow!

  9. Your Stock looks amazing and I truly hope the sun comes back for you soon.. At least I do have the bright warm sun to go with my snow and cold. So much snow in the past week.. I have got another 4 last night to go with my eight the day before.. total over 2 plus feet in four days. Sugaring already coming.. I am often reminded how much further you are then me, we are still far out from our maple tapping at this point.

    We are waiting for a big old freezing rain storm to start in the next hour or two so we have spent the morning moving the snow, as we do not want the freezing rain on top of the snow.

    • I hate the freezing rain the most – especially if it is BEFORE the snow and the snow hides it.. we do not have the warm days yet but there are a few days next week that rise above freezing – this gives us hope! c

  10. I find these grey days with no sun so depressing, some days I don’t even want to get out of bed. About a month or so ago, I started giving myself vitamin B12 injections (my doctor showed me how) and it’s made a big difference. I also like to use a grow lamp to get some sunlight into my eyes (it’s attached to the treadmill). Your stock sounds amazing. We don’t eat much chicken these days so I buy my chicken carcasses from the local butcher.

  11. I miss living in the midwest growing greens indoors in February while the outside looks like nothing will every grow again. It is like a candle lit in the dark It gives me a sense of hope and waiting worth it.

    • I didn’t know you used to live in the midwest. I have to tell you that I bought a pack of sanitising wipes for my next flights – you and your friends gave me the heaves talking about germs as you travel at your blog the other day. c

  12. The sudden onset of spring is why we do not tap maples here, although the native bigleaf maple happens to be a sugaring maple in the northwest. I get very little from it before it starts to foliage, and it is not very good.

    • That is such a shame – it is an amazing sweetener, we have good years and bad years – we don’t have too many trees, just enough to supply the households for the year.

      • Well, it is our excellent climate that facilitates growing so many other things. The Santa Clara Valley was once famous for apricots, prunes and cherries that grew better here than anywhere else in the world, including Turkey.

  13. J > The best thing to grow on your land so that it helps make the environment as healthy as possible notwithstanding climate change, is to grow what … Well, to let Nature do the growing. Fence it off, let it go feral. Minimal intervention. Then see what Nature does with it, and learn what bounties Nature can afford to let you harvest : fencing materials, firewood, fruit, rabbits, game birds … A little of many different things, and as little as possible to be bought or sold, but rather used yourselves, or bartered. Our 15 acre Hebridean croft

  14. [oops!] … has broken with tradition and will no longer be dominated by sheep (though we love them, the future can’t be held hostage to sentiment), nor by human planning and tidiness, but rather by the inscrutable unfathomable wisdom and adaptability of Nature.

    • Gosh – we have some designated areas of wildness but I applaud you letting your whole farm go wild – what do you do about invasive species? We have a terrible thistle that has overtaken the banks and would take over my pastures too if let to grow. Or maybe me and the cows are the invaders at that point. c

      • J > As the ecology of a plot of land adapts following changes in grazing or cultivation, or for that matter a wildfire or exceptional flood, there may be a succession of stages in which certain species dominate. Some of these species may be considered invasive (and if not native, they may be – but that’s another matter) by humans, but that’s subjective, or at least relative to nearby land uses and a wider environmental debate. There may be times at which certain species may need to be controlled in some degree – for example by topping thistles before they distribute seed : this may have the side-effect of hastening the next phase of change. (We’re currently doing just this with ragwort.) But, ultimately, and especially if grazing and other impacts on the land are light or occasional or varied – so that no one impact prevails (eg not intensive sheep grazing, but mixed grazing by sheep, cattle or horses, poutry, all relatively light), and given years of lying fallow, then almost all land will become increasingly diverse in ecology, according to the prevailing soil and climate. We’re not re-wilding in one go. We’re doing it gradually, letting Nature show us what we can do, and us playing a supportive role. There will still be livestock, but few : if we want more, then they’d have to spend the winter indoors.

  15. Can we puhleeze have some of your winter? We’re in the mid 70’s here in Central CA and, in fact, broke a 1930’s record for warmest day. Just a little snow or rain? Look like we’re headed back to drought mode after a on3-year reprieve. The bark beetles are multiplying and fire season is just around the corner. We need reservoirs, not a billion of dollars speed train to no where. It won’t feed the masses, whereas the saved water would. Just one cold snowy month would be magnificent!

    Love Miss Molly’s photo!

    • I am off to California next week and my son there says the almond trees are already in blossom. California is a hard state to grow naturally in, I imagine. Not a lot of water there. Imagine what would happen if you let Those orchards go back to nature – as John above is doing. c

  16. Is that Mr. Feathers in the barn? And the gorgeous orange kitty – Marmalade or the new mouser? Where has the Moon kitty been? The one with the sad face (Blue Moon)?

  17. Oh, home grown maple syrup…
    Your chicken stock looks wonderful, and if we ever got enough carcasses to enable me to cook my stock down that far, I’d do it too. I make 4 litres of soup every week for the Husband to take to work with him, and I need every drop of stock I get, whether it’s chicken, ham bone or plain old vegetable stock.

    • I always save a little stock from the last stock to start the new one – a chef told me that – he knew a chef who literally had his name on his stock! It had been going for that many years.. c

  18. Well, I certainly did not anticipate having a wonderful lesson in tapping maple trees and making maple syrup early on a Monday morning: a little new knowledge I do appreciate! And you should put chicken stock of this quality into small containers and sell it as a very effective flu and cold medicine sans side issues. Actually the young plants in your glass house do not show sun starvation just the heralding of spring . . . .

  19. Ask your neighbor to the north if you can have the seedlings from the black walnuts the squirrels planted and forgot about. They come up every spring. Meant to tell you last spring but other things intervened. Or, ask if you can pick the nuts after they drop in the fall.

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