Sunday, March 30, 2014
The snow is gone and there are signs of green here and there.
With the increase of sap came the need to increase sap production.
RR set me up with his chop saw so I could cut into the top of the stock tank.
A 3 X 3 angle iron frame drops right and comes right out. Great for cleaning out ash build up and easy to swap over for the next stove upgrade in a few years.
It uses a third less wood and gets the sap to a rolling boil in no time at all.
As with all new set ups there's always a little learning curve.
After settling in to catch a few elite eight ball games with pizza and a cold one. I got caught up in the action and let the pan turn to candy.
Next, mounting it on a pole in the garden.
I'm HAPPY to report I found one!
Look for the signs of spring!
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Last night after I got home Susie and I booked it down to the timber to get a fresh batch rolling for the weekend. We fired up the stove and gathered up all kinds of sap. Most of the bags were loaded to the top after Fridays unseasonably warm temperatures.
Paddlefish are one of the oldest fishes, with fossil records dating their first appearance at 300 to 400 million years ago. They have a very large mouth, and a long, paddle-shaped snout (called a rostrum).
They're great deep fried in a beer batter but these all went back in the water. Any thing over 33" measured from the eye to the v in the fork of the tail goes back in the river.
Within 45 minutes I had my two fish but neither one was in the slot limit. One too small and this one was too large. 36" form the eye to the fork in the tail and just over 25 lbs.
What a blast. They put up quite a fight and I really don't mind releasing these prehistoric fish. Knowing that the male Paddlefish reach sexual or reproductive maturity between six to seven years, while the females reach sexual or reproductive maturity between ten to twelve years.
Jerry had a rough time finding a fish and we were over an hour and half in before he caught his first fish... too small.
Then a few minutes later he doubled. One on each hook. Over 55 lbs of fish. Snap a pic and then back in the water.
The largest one that Jerry caught had its rostrum cut off at some point. Probably by a barge.
Saturday we boiled sap and socialized down in the sugar bush.
Ryan stopped by to chat.
Dark N Stormies. The drink of choice down on Little Corn.
While the girls enjoyed some green tea made with Maple sap. Susie also made some tasty burritos that we heated up on the stove and scones.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
A quick bite of polish and back at it.
Later, my snagging buddies Rich, Jerry his mom and sister came by to give me the report on the ice conditions below lock and dam 12. Then they ran down to Clinton to check things down South.
The plan was to snag this am but 20* with some howling winds nixed that plan.
What a great place that was. According to the back of the photo. Mom wrote, "Backbone Hideout, Good times in this place. From 1956 to 1973, grandpa John and dad built this"!
This cabin sat on 3 acres, surrounded on three sides by Backbone State Park. All materials were brought in by boat or over the ice on the Maquoketa river. Then carried about a half mile overland down a foot trail. The floor plan was wide open with the kitchen and wood stove on the West end, dining table near the large south window with the beds and sleeping loft on the East end. To the North the cabin butted up to the hillside at the base of a small bluff.
Although we never tapped maples, we hunted the surrounding hills, fished and swam in the Maquoketa river.
Here's a shot of dad with some nice fish from the Maquoketa.
I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you're going to lie, lie for a friend. If you're going to steal, steal a heart. If you're going to cheat, cheat death. And if you're going to drink, drink with me.
To Joyce and simpler times!
Sunday, March 9, 2014
The snow is over a foot deep with some spots drifted to more than twice that much and sled and gear stay right on top.
I drill a hole 2 to 2 ½ inches deep. Drill at a slight upward angle to facilitate downward flow of sap from the hole. The shavings from the drilled tap hole should be light brown, indicating healthy sapwood. If the shavings are dark brown, drill another hole in a different location.
Ace and Maxine made themselves right at home down by the stove but it will be a few days while I collect some sap before I fire up the stoves. A winter wind storm dropped a good size elm near by for a handy supply of fire wood,
Saturday, March 1, 2014
The hives are built and have to bee painted, yet.
This year I've committed to making the switch to Mann Lake's Rite-Cell Natural foundations. The plastic core foundation with the cell structure embedded into the plastic. It requires no pinning or reinforcement of any kind and can be easily inserted into an assembled frame with grooved top and bottom bars. The cell structure is deeper than other cell embedded plastic foundations leading to less drone comb.
The cells of our foundation are more defined and textured, which we have found to be more appealing to the bees. The cell structure is in the wax only and not in the plastic. If the wax gets damaged or chewed down, the bees are not likely to draw out the smooth plastic core. Pure wax foundations require time-consuming reinforcement and are prone to wax moth damage and chew down by the bees. With Rite-Cell, if wax moths enter and damages the hive, one would only need to scrape off the damage and reinsert the frames into the hive.
Some assembly required...
Glue all ends.
That's about 500 more glued ends and tacks.
Now, back to the original post!
I guess I've got to look on the bright side. At least we're getting a little moisture inside.
Hopefully I can get this job done right, the second time.
Sunday am update...
Frames 120 frames finished.
Time to head out to repair the hoop house and shovel snow.
Hoop house repaired by noon.
School house in winter and my finger ;-}