Sunday, November 17, 2013

Meet The Press.

I thought it would be nice for you to have a picture to go with a name to go with a face....
Meet The Press. My Farm animals and pets. So I will be adding a new member for you to meet each week.
Lets start with Casper. He is my 19 yr old Tn Walker  Horse. We adopted him almost 7 years ago. He is a rescue. A give a horse a second chance and Im so glad we did. He is by far the best horse I have ever had. And I have had horses, and or ponies since I was 4 tears old.
Casper and I enjoy riding with our friends. We trailer to distant trails just he and I. Its the most peaceful time for me. When Im riding with Casper, all I can say is, "Life is VERY GOOD." I like many can take my life for granted, when Im with Casper I realize just how blessed I am to have this life, this time and him. Owning a horse in my opinion is a luxury, a blessing.


he loves to play in the water
Each morning  and evening he waits for me in his stall to feed him his grain and hay. I like to brush him during this time. I have to give him kisses and hugs and I love the smell of him so I sneak a sniff on his long soft fuzzy neck. Sometimes I just have to go out to his pasture  and hang out with him while he munches away.I usually have a pocket full of cookies too. I love him.
 Say Hello to Casper.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tilapia Move

Its that time of year, again. Cooler temps, change of seasons, WINTER! Im not a fan of winter. Sure its pretty, love to be inside a warm, clean, nice smelling house watching the snow lightly fall down. But then....I have to don on layers and layers of clothing to head out to take care of the critters. My sons say I look like a Gorilla going out to milk cows????? If you get some visual picture of that, good for you. I dont even own a cow.....yet???? Then theres the driving in the snow. Im not  a good driver on dry, sunny days let a lone snow!       I drive slow, in a state where the minimum speed is
 80 mph!
Back to where this blog was suppose to be going. Moving our Tilapia. During the summer months our Tilapia enjoy basking in the warm, heated by the sun, pool or 150 gallon tank in our greenhouse aka The Church. They supply my grow beds with nutrients aka fish poo that feed my plants. All goes along smoothly until the weather changes and it gets too cold for them to stay in a non heated greenhouse. Thats when I move them. I have been thinking about a new set up for them. Brain storming. Dont ask me where I get my ideas...Joel Dear says, "God forbid  Angela should ever get bored!"  Honestly I dont think my mind ever shuts off.
 I have an IBC tote, that I had originally wanted to use for my fish way back when they came to live with us, as wee little fry. It didnt work with our grow bed set up. Unless I used a sump pump. Those are nice....and LOUD.  The Church is right outside my bedroom widow.
 You have to keep the "system" running, always. You can set a timer to activate your pump for say 15 min intervals, but that can wear your pump down. Its best for the pump to stay running circulating the water to your grow beds, and supplying cleaner water and some oxygen to your fish tank.Speaking of pumps. I buy mine at Harbor Freight. $25. And buy two. Always have a back up. Because things will always go wrong at the worse possible time.
 We scratched the IBC tote for The Church at least. However, I am using it in the garage set up, where the fish are going to stay. Permanently. Im not moving them back to The Church as the plans are for now. I do change my mind though....and often. I have two grow beds on top of the tote and circulate to those. I  use a bio filter and in my belief with any set up you will need an additional filter. My bio-filter is a fancy plastic empty cat littler container, I drilled, using a unibit again, hole and screwed in an angle piece of pvc to it drains back into the tank. It sits on the top of the IBC tote. I use a fiber filling I buy at Walmart or any fabric store will carry it. Its used in quilt making. Keeping the filter medium in a lingerie bag so it doesnt empty back into the tank and get caught in your pump.  This has happened to me before.
I filled the tote, heated it and did a ph down, an OMRI, organic additive to lower the hardness of the tanks water. Here in MI, we have hard, Hard water. *Doing all  of this prior to adding the fish.*
 Tilapia have to have warm water. 60* is the minimum, I dont go below 70* I want them to continue to grow , thats the name of the game here. Im raising them for food! I also wrap my tank with R19 formaldehyde free, plastic encased insulation.
my fancy Bio Filter

This is what I use for my filter medium.

inside view of Bio Filter.


This is the tank in The Church.
And yes. You can buy already processed Tilapia at your local grocery store, imported from China. "IF" you find fish harvested from USA, Processed in the USA, sustainably grown, non gmo, organic, fed organically, not laden with chemicals, and or growth hormones. (many factory farms control their fish sex through a chemical process) If you ever find Tilapia with these standards please let me know. This takes work, attention and detail. Is it worth it? So far to me it is. Part of the reason I got into all of this homesteading, raising our own food was due in part to my son Jake. He went into anaphylactic shock from eating "wild caught fish". 9 others were in the hospital experiencing the same reactions. We all had bought the same fish from the same local store.  It had nothing to do with an allergy to the fish, but everything to do with the  unknown chemicals the fish had been swimming in prior to being caught. So to answer the question.... yes.
Are you a boy fish or a girl fish?
 I thought I would sex my fish to see how many I had of each sex.....I cant sex fish. I thought they were all males. Nope. I have both, which is just what I wanted, I do plan on breeding and continuing this process.
church in summer
 And always a good sport, my son  Alex, helped me with the move. My other good sport son Jake took all the pix. Team work!

Preparing the new Tilapia Tank

 We moved the IBC tote to the garage and started retro fitting it for grow beds. I used two 14L plastic totes I purchased from Walmart for my grow beds, filled with one bag 25 L of Hyrdoton. I used a bell siphon in each. You can search youtube for Bell Siphons, much easier than I can go into detail. Make sure on your exhaust/ drain pipe that you use an angle piece of pvc, not just straight or it will just continually flow and not flush.
We made our own bulk heads from  1/2 inch pvc and conduit fittings. Also making our own gasket from a square of rubber we bought at our local hardware store.
 To cut the holes in the plastic beds I used  a unibit, go slow or you will crack the plastic and have to buy another. Hmmm. How do I know this????
Once its all up, together, running and filled with warm water....Fish move!
I did transplant some mature plants from my greenhouse into the grow beds. We have Dandelion, Arugula, Swiss Chard and Lettuce growing now. And thirty happy, healthy, plump Tilapia.




 Addie Mae and Brother Little who just like to help.
 A bell siphon with hardware cloth cage so hydroton ( compressed pellets of clay) keep out!
Water filling nicely.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Good Camera

My good camera broke, because I dropped it, twice. So I havent been posting. Whats a post without pictures? BORING..... Im looking at some new cameras online. Yikes! When did they get so gosh darned expensive????
My son Jake, did fix if for me once. But then I dropped it again. Im a klutz. In my defense, all these new gadgets are getting so small. Phones, cameras.....

Today, Ill make my final camera selection and get back to work!
Until then, Im catching up on some past post. Always behind....
Happy Day to Thee ~ Angela

Saying Good bye

Sadly our beloved  Llama The Jeff passed away Saturday Sept 14
The Jeff passed away Saturday Sept 14.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Somebody gave us a SCARE!

It all started last Sunday. I went out to hang clothes on the line and noticed Jeff laying in the sun. Not an unusual site for him. Other than it was very hot that day. I told him, "it was time to get to the shade." He didnt move. " Time to toll over, your tan enough on that side handsome man!" He didnt move again. I then said, "Jeff dont make me come over there and get you!" He still didnt move. By this time, Im running around to the gate. "IM coming Jeff!" He was down and I couldnt get him up. I know, your getting worried now too huh? Ill be the first to admit, I dont handle animal illnesses well AT ALL!  I freak, I cry, I panic, I overly worry, I obsess, and I sleep in the barn! Id rather stay in the barn then trek back and forth. It gets screepy (thats Jakes term for scary and creepy) at night!
Jake, Jeffs arch adversary noticed the scene and  came over to help. He was smarter, he went right through the fence. See, Jake really does LOVE Jeff :) I ran into the house to call the vet. I heard Jake yelling for me, He had gotten Jeff up. We walked him to the barn, gave him a good once over. I couldnt see anything wrong??? I let him play in the hose, to cool off. Jeff ate some grass, ran around like Pepe LaPeu....all seemed o.k???? I still wasnt convinced. He still seemed "off."
I started my every 20 min vigil over Jeff. I called his previous owner. He is my go to guy for the goats, Llamas,  and cars. You name it, if you wanna know ask Al. He suggested a few things, told me to "keep a  close eye on him!" I had that part covered. The not knowing, not good. I called the vet on Tuesday. He loves Jeff too. He was out of the office on other farm calls, but called me immediately. He asked what our pasture looked like? Tall weeds growing? "Yes" I said why???? With our damp, cool summer the weeds were taking over pastures and forming "Oxalate's" which are poisonous to Jeff. The vet ordered him to a dry lot. Off pasture, only grain, hay, water. AND if he is not better in 24 hours I wanna hear from you! Done! So my love of my life llama is sad in his stall, but doing better. He has his own fan, own hay, can eat his grain in peace. Goats can be rather pushy to Jeff. And fresh, cool water. I go down and see him often. Ok, VERY often. I think tonight we will go for a walk, or two. Anything for my lovie Lllama Jeff!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Trouble With Goats

I have debated many a time  about getting into cows. I love cows, from a distance. They are big. And Im a little afraid of them. "Will they kick me when I try to milk the cow? Will they chase my horse? What if they get out?" Theses are the questions of doubt that go through my mind. This is why Im sticking with my goats. Until yesterday. See, I have, currently 8 goats. 4 does and twins born in June. One weather, Kleetus and our new little buckling ( a baby boy goat) LB, Lucky Bucky.
LB decided to "discover" he has male parts for breeding.How else can I say this? He found himself or it found him.  He is no longer our little baby boy, he is maturing into a buck. Still a sweet, kind boy though.
 Bucks will urinate on themselves and everything around them when they come into rut or breeding season. Its a horrible, stinky smell. Similar to a skunk. I do not want it all over my barn, or stalls. Sorry. Im picky.
LB was doing what he is suppose to do, breed the girls.This is a a very important process if you want goats milk.
I have been asked, "will goats  just come into milk?" No.  They have to mature,
to about the age of 1 to 1  1/2 yrs of age, come into season or estrous, which is usually when the evening temps dip to the cooler side, some goats are "breed able" throughout the year, then have them bred to a buck, have babies, THEN you will get goats milk. Just in case you too were wondering about the process. Thats it in a nutshell.
 I do not want baby goats born in December. #1 Im having knee surgery then, and #2 Its winter, its cold,and snowy.  Im not a fan of using heat lamps in the barn or giving up prime parking space in the garage for a baby goat playpen. So I prefer to wait on breeding until the birth will be at a more convenient time for all. I plan on having baby goats born during the late Spring or early Summer.
 I moved Kleetus and LB to a nice, well suited pasture just for the guys. They have two nice shelters, and a huge pasture just to themselves. A Goatie Man Cave. Sounds great right? Well NOT to Kleetus. He didnt like it there, he wanted to be in Caspers pasture. So, he climbed, then jumped the 4 ft high NO CLIMB GOAT fence. Yup. Right over, no problem and no questions asked. Leaving LB alone and afraid, screaming. I trudged back over, got Kleet, put him back in the pasture and watched him again. Thinking to myself, "And you didnt want cows, why?"  I moved the guys to the barn, locked them up into a stall and made plans to fix the fence. And that we did. It has two strands of electric now. If you think this is cruel. Let me explain. IF Kleetus has learned this trait, there will be no fence that will keep him in. Safely. He will climb any fence, anytime. The busy road is not far, and as are neighbors. Im sure they dont want goats eating their nice flower gardens.
He has to learn to stay put. He has everything he needs, a buddy, LB, feed, water, shelter and plenty of area to move around. He will learn. Change for goats is not easy. I must be part goat.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

12 ( 3-4 inch ) long pickling cucumbers. Truth be told, I use the ones that look more like stumps!
2 cups water
1  3/4  cups white vinegar
 1  1/2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1  1/2 T coarse salt
1 T pickling Spice
1  1/2 teaspoons dill seed
 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
4 sprigs fresh dill weed
in a large bowl, combine cukes, water, vinegar, chopped dill, sugar, garlic, salt, pickling spice, dill seed, and red pepper flakes. Stir. Let stand at room temp for 2 hours until sugar and salt dissolve.
Remove cukes to three, (sterile) 1  1/2 pint, wide mouth jars, placing 4 cukes into each jar. Ladle in the liquid from the bowl to cover. Place a sprig of fresh dill into each jar and seal with lids. Refrigerate for 10 days before using. Use within a month.
ok, thats there directions. I use those hunken huge cukes that hide out among the vines. I hate to waste food!   I use a half gallon  Ball jar, I dissolve my liquids, then I put everything in! Ohh!!! and guess what? I have kept these longer than a month! As a matter of fact, I still have some from last year in my fridge right now. There you have it, now you know..."Whats wrong with her?"
 She's pickled! Literally ;)


Mock Pineapple Using Zucchini

1 gallon zucchini * see directions following as  how to cut*
*If you are making mock pineapple rings, use a muffin cutter to cut "rings." For "tidbit" pineapple, dice. Shred for "crushed" pineapple.
1 ( 46oz.)  unsweetened pineapple juice
2  1/2 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice
Peel the zucchini, Remove all seeds. Making sure all green/yellow is removed. I save my peels and use them in place of spaghetti pasta. You can  do a blanch method, A hot bath,followed by a quick dip in ice cold water method of preserving them and keep them in the freezer for later use.
squeeze out any excess water from your zucchini, I never have any water in mine, just in case you do.
Simmer all ingredients together for about 20 minutes, so sugar dissolves and they all make nice!
Pack hot in jars, sterilized according to Ball Canning methods.
Process pints 10 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
Im planning on trying this in smoothies. Let me know if you try this and what you use it for. Im curious, ok...nosey! Im really excited to find other methods of using Zucchini, hope you are as well.
Happy Day To Thee~ Angela


Monday, June 3, 2013

On Our Way to See Grandma

Its a beautiful day here in SWMI. Cool temps and finally sun! Lots and lots of rain this past week. Which is ok, considering the drought of last year.
Addie Mae, Alex my chauffeur ( Hee hee )and I are on our way to see my mom at the nursing home.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring Has Sprung, and this chick is beeizzzyyy

After a very long winter, a winter that seemed to never end, its SPRING! And a beautiful Spring at that. Last year we had a horrible early Spring. It was warmer in March, than April, then heat wave all summer. Please, never a year like that again. We have been enjoying beautiful temps here in SWMI, 73*, bright blue skies, SUN with just the right sprinkling of rain. Ahhhh.
I have been busy getting gardens ready. Each year I do away with more lawn. Less To Mow, More To Grow is my motto. I currently have 5 gardens and am adding, just one more. I promise, just one more. Than one more after that and one more after that...hee hee!
I start all my seedlings indoors, than move them to The Church, aka my greenhouse, then to their final grand area, THE GARDEN! Its a wonderful process. I love it, usually. This year it was really hard. I had a bad few days. You see I recently placed my mom in a nursing home after caring for her for almost 4 years with Alzheimer's/Dementia. For some reason, maybe a stress release, it hit me all at once. I started feeling really bad about all I do, like I was a crazy person for raising our food, questioning and doubting everything I do or have done. For a brief moment, I thought, "Ill call my mom and talk to her about how I feel." Then reality hit, "You cant call your mom, shes not there anymore." THATS when it hit. Im an orphan. Sort of. I still have my mom, but she doesnt know who I am anymore, she cant remember my name. I still talk to her as if she does but its very hard. I always have a lump in my throat, choking back tears. Many times when Im leaving the nursing home Im in tears. I usually work it all out on the drive home, its a 45 min drive one way. Im doing better about all of it, I guess its something I just have to go through. I was quiet for awhile, but am getting back into the swing of things. New projects, new babies....Its all good.

Mr Tumnus
Last winter I bred three of my does to a ( borrowed) wonderful buck, Mr Tumnus. He is a total doll, a Nigerian. A small breed of dairy goat. They are known for  wonderful, rich in butterfat, goats milk! Since my girls are Snoobs, Saneen, Nubian crosses they are quite tall. You get where Im going here dont you? If you dont, let me explain. I wasnt quite sure the little guy could reach the target! Being as polite as I can be. People joked and said I or better yet, Joel Dear should build the little guy, Mr Tumnus a stand. My guys wanted nothing to do with my adventures in goat sex! So, I had to let nature and hormones do their jobs. Well as it turns out, it has. Our dear mischievous Stella is forming an udder. Shes PREGNANT! Due June 27 or as we say, When the stem is ripe, the apple will fall. All in due time!
Now only if Maddie and Lilly are holding on to a secret as well.
We have four other new babies here. Two chicks, one buckling and a Turkey. Im still waiting on the other 12 fertile Turkey eggs I ordered. I have my incubator all set up and ready. Which leads me to projects. Does that word make your husbands shake with fear as it does mine?
I have plans on building a chicken tractor for our meat birds.I order 25 each year and thats the only chicken we eat.
Cleaning the stalls for those birds is horrendous! I figure I can build a 10x10 hoop house. Let them free range all day, lock them up safely at night, and  move it when it needs to be cleaned. The egg laying hens will come through and scratch the straw around and it will all go back into the earth as composted chicken manure. What do you think? I say it all starts with a plan! ;) So thats where my brain is today.
 I still have to get my fence up for Turkey Hill Mansion and fence in the new pasture. Hence the title, BEEIzzzy! And now you know why my hubby shakes with fear..PROJECTS! lol


My dear, sweet, helpful son Alex helped me out greatly this year. Well he always helps me, but extra this time. I recently did some damage to my knee. Requiring surgery. I have torn my Meniscus in three places, my ACL and I have a cyst behind my knee.  Dear sweet son Jake, mows the lawns that I have not dug up....yet!
I have a gorgeous brace Im wearing to buy myself some time. Time to get through the summer, then this fall. Surgery! YUCK!

Maddie Jane and LB
Blossom, Kletus, Lilly, Stella and The Jeff in background
We have our very own buck. Say Hello to Lucky Bucky or LB as we call him. He is 100% Nubian. Another dairy goat breed. He is a bottle baby, and Im really hoping he and I will be friends even through puberty. He is going to be a very tall boy. My last experience with owning my own buck was disastrous. That thing was so mean. He'd take you out just for thinking of entering his pasture!

I have stayed with my purple passion theme in The Church, the fish tanks are usually painted black to keep out light and prevent algae growth. Well, I think black can be over done, so I went with Purple Gloss. It really adds some happy pizzazzz to growing I think! What fish wouldnt be happy to swim in a Purple Gloss Tank?
So, in a flash I have caught you up with some of the happenings here  Life At Purple Gate Farm. Im off to feed, weed, and read.
Happy Mothers Day To Thee~ Angela

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

MAYTAG & AMERICAN AIRLINES.

This week has been a doozie. First my son Jake went on a trip for college. A wonderful experience for him minus the air travel. American Airlines really failed. His first flight was delayed 5 1/2 hours due to repairs. Then delayed from each and every point, rerouted etc. He started out leaving at 10 am, he got to his hotel at 2 am! A flight that was to take 3 hours took 16 hours.  His return flight made up air time, by 10 mins. They got into OHare in time to catch their connecting flight. BUT, someone had already closed the gate. And under no circumstances are they to open it. So the flight left with only 6 passengers onboard, leaving over 20 stranded! If his group had not rented a mini van and drove home, he would have still been stranded in Chicago. He got a text  that his flight  out "today" ( suppose to leave out Sunday) was still canceled. They gave him a $12 food voucher. That was all.
THEN>>>>>>>>> My washer broke, as did my fridge, same day. I can understand my washer, it WAS 15 yrs old. Funny, my mom had appliances that lasted almost 30 years. I doubt we will see that in our life time. Then my 5 year old MAYTAG fridge broke. The compressor. The warranty had just went out. I contacted Maytag and basically was told. Thanks for your donation but sucks to be you. Ohhh! We are sorry.
 I had a service repair come, what a jerk, thats another story. He said that these brands usually last only 2 years! I was LUCKY to get 5 yrs out of my side by side 26 cu ft, $1200.00  Maytag .  The repair will cost a  min $875.oo I find this ALL disgusting!
  This is my other gripe. No one cares about their product, customers, nothing. I am just so angry. Whatever happened to the customer being right, doing more to keep up good service? Pleases and Thank Yous?  I feel as if I am a reject from another era. No one has  manners, every place I go is filthy, even doctors offices. Do you have a time machine? I wanna go back to the time when people were neat, clean, professional, and had pride in their craftsmanship.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We Have SUN!!!!!

I had to take a picture and share this with you...Dont freak out...its just the SUN!  I cant remember the last day we had such a beautiful event. Really! Its been days and days and days of gloomy, over cast, SNOW, Rain, SNOW MIXED WITH RAIN day after days!!!! The kind of weather that makes you want to get a soft, fluffy blankey, curl up on the couch and veg sort of days. You just feel tired all the time. Well not today. I think Im going to paint the barns, put in a new drive way, re do my kitchen, buy a cow, replace all my crappy windows...OK . Maybe not that much. But you get the idea of how something so small can you make you feel so great! SUN!
 Actually,today Im making soap and homemade deodorant. Exciting!
 What are you doing with your day? Is it sunny? Wherever your day takes you...Happy Day To Thee~ Ang
 Ariel, our Gramma kitty, taking in some rays.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shopping For Canning Jars

I can everything! Well, almost EVERYTHING. We recently embarked on the journey of spiking our 16 Maple Trees. You need "something" to hold the syrup in right? Right. So off I went to my local grocery store to buy a "few" cases of Ball Canning Jars. I was also canning dried beans too, I need lots of jars. We use canning jars for drinking glasses as well. They are perfect. Especially the wide mouth ones, no pun intended.
While in the line to check out. The cashier asks me, "what are you going to do with those?" Meaning the canning jars. I told her, canning Maple Syrup, and beans..... She asks me "We have Maple Trees here in Michigan?"  That I found pretty sad. Then she asked "why would I can beans? We sell them here you know!"
 Hmmm. I wont go there. I was polite and kind. Just explained that we prefer my beans. She then asked me if" I worked outside the home?"  I replied,only when Im mowing the lawn,or removing the snow,or cleaning the barn,or mucking stalls,or milking goats. But other than that, no. She laughed and said "Thats how you get to do all of this. "  I was a cashier too at one time. I have worked in the past, way outside the home. Until the recent recession, I was working two jobs and still doing all of this. I just found this conversation with this particular cashier not to be gaining info, but more well, mean. I dont ask people why they buy what they buy. Its none of my business. Like the other time, I was also at the grocery store. I was buying Castor Oil. I use it for oil cleaning my face, for the record.  The cashier asks "Why are you buying this? It says its for constipation, you dont look constipated."
What do you say?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Maple Syrup Time

Today my son Alex, Addie Mae, and I took a hike to the Maple trees. Not an easy thing since I tore my ACL recently. My goal, to get going on the Maple Syrup! Its that time of year again. Wahooo!
I only have 3 spiles so thats all the Maples I did. I came up with another crazy idea, Im famous for those  you know. I took a 5 gallon bucket with lids. Oh yea, the lids. That was a hunt in a half. No one has lids for 5 gallon buckets. After 4 stores, I hit gold! Or bucket lid heaven. I hope you can find lids around your area.
To my contraption I used a 3/16" vinyl tubing, attached that to the spile and drilled a hole in my buckets lid, even after all that shopping for those precious lids, I still drilled a hole in the lid! This way my syrup will be safer during rain storms. That sounds so odd. Rain storms and theres still snow on the ground. But, it also means its warming up, SPRING!
 The pictures are worth a thousand words as you will see below.
 Guess what I forgot to pack? Yuppers. Camera. I checked and rechecked that I had the drill, the drill bits, the hole in the bucket maker, whatever that is! My tubing, the spiles, the buckets and all famous LIDS...forgot camera~ Gesh! Alex took these with his phone.
To spike a Maple tree is very easy. I found my spiles locally or you can find them here.http://www.sugarbushsupplies.com/ They have everything and great reads!
This is only my second year doing Maple Syrup. I marked my trees last summer, Im not very great at distinguishing Maples by their bark, I need the leaves. I painted the tress with a large M. Then waited, and waited...winters here in Michigan are very, very, VERY long.
 The best time to spike a Maple tree is when the day time temps are above freezing and the nights still get to freezing, or 32*. The warmer days make the sap flow, the cool evenings stop the flow.
  Now for the fun part. I used a battery powered  drill and drilled into the tree about an inch. The size of the drill bit depends on what spiles you choose.  Drill straight in. I used a rubber mallet to lightly pound in the spile and BINGO! Theres sap a flowing! I pushed on the plastic tubing and ran that into the lidded bucket. Tomorrow, I shall hobble back up the big hill and see how much progress we have. This coming week is to be the Maple Sapaloooza!
 I will then haul my sap  back to the house where I have a turkey deep fryer hooked up to a propane tank and that I will use to boil down the sap to syrup. Its very highly recommended that you boil down your syrup outside. As the water boils off it carries with it small particles of sap. IF you do this inside, you will have a huge, sticky, very bad mess. Make sure to do as much outside. You can finish it in the house. You will know its almost finished by the color. Mine turns a beautiful amber color . It will get some what thicker but nothing like store bought syrup, which is mostly corn syrup. Homemade maple syrup will always be some what thinner.



 It takes about 40 gallons of sap to get  about one gallon of delicious, amber in color, ohhh so yummy your tummy sings, pure, organic, MAPLE SYRUP! Its so very worth it. Now go get you some spiles and spike some Maples.
When syrup time is up, I make a paste out of Diatomaceous Earth or DE and plug up the holes. Just to be kind to the trees. It will help keep out any unwanted bugs.
Happy Maple Syrup Season to Thee~

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Snowy Day






The color you see in these photos is true. It actually was this blue. Gorgeous morning, just had to share.
Happy Day To Thee~

Saturday, February 2, 2013

First Eva Video

Last night I posted my first ever blog video. I have posted two others, one was when Matilda was born and in the house, the other I Can Speak Pig. Those dont count. This video took me for ever! #1 Im picky. #2 Im shy. So why did I do it? I have been asked to. So here  I go. I agree some things are just better on video and others in print. I just hope I can keep up? You can view them  here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2t42Kt0ANR4
I thought Id post a picture today of our backyard. My usual picture. Its a whopping 9* this morning and snowing. Another day all the animals will be in the barn. Or as I call it Lock Down.  I let them out for stall cleaning, then they want back in, right away. Even Casper who has on his beautiful pink blanket! Brr. Baby brr. Its cold outside.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winters Day Off








Baby its cold outside! Yesterday was Summer, the day before Spring, and  back to Winter today.  25* high, lows tonight 17*  Hot cocoa and thick fluffy socks all day. Stay safe all. Happy Day To Thee~ Angela