What feels like a few short weeks ago, Isabel Subtil visited with her video camera in tow interested in our maple syruping project. Her visit allowed me to test my trail markings through the woods, get a nice walk on an early Spring day, and then watch her do her magic when she followed William on his syruping adventures taking video and capturing the spirit of the maple forest. Her photography is fantastic, and this collaboration with Lucas Bryce of Sequence Films has me convinced that video is a great marketing medium to share a more authentic product story. To me, this video is mesmerizing because it takes you to that place on that day in that woods - you hear the stillness, but at the same time, the birds, the wind and the sap dripping into the pans. Glorious!
It truly is a magical time of year on the farm. My husband does all the heavy lifting to bring home this beautiful treat, he taps the trees, collects the sap, cuts wood to keep the burner at just the right temperature, filters it, then passes it off to me, a perfect syrup to bottle. We call it, "Sugar Drip Maple Drool." We do it the old-fashioned way: no tubes in the woods, one batch at a time, hand-harvested and hand-fired. You can taste and see the difference from one batch to the next.
Fast forward from March to May and here we are planting the crops. This gizmo caught my attention the other day. Talk about old-fashioned! This is a fanning mill used by farmers who save their own seed to grow the following year. Unheard of in most modern "conventional" farms. Below you see William carrying a tote of barley seed to the fanning mill. Once he dumps in the seed, the machine sends it through a variety of screens, a fan blows the light chaf out and leaves the barley seed separated from all the weed seeds and debris below. The next photo shows him filling a grain drill with the freshly cleaned barley. This baby isn't like the big rigs you see with all the plastic seed tubs - Corn and soybean planters are more commonly seen in these parts.
I've got the permaculture beds at the Dirt Farm all planted with veggies and am trying my hand at greenhouse gardening as well. I'm a novice when it comes to growing veggies in one of these spaces, but it seems to be working out. I treat it more like my outdoor kitchen garden than I suspect a greenhouse full-scale veggie grower would - I'm on a learning curve! I'm not into drip line and plastic mulch (yet), so am using straw for mulch and a sprinkler to water. Once the heat of summer is upon us, I may regret my decisions. We've harvested arugula, lettuce and radishes so far - so FUN! There will be GOODIES from the GARDENS in the FARM STORE this weekend!
Don't be shy. Stop out to see us. We're running the store honor shop most days, but if you want to jabber, send me a text when you arrive (number is in store), and I'll come find you. The store is STOCKED with lots of goodies and more and more and more creative ideas are coming to me as the gardens start to give.
Rhubarb is definitely one of the stars this week! If you didn't see my Facebook post, here's a little glamourous snapshot of the fun we had on "Rhubarb HAT day!" A tradition amongst the local "Top of the Hill Gang" of which I have become a part:)
Thanks for all the rain dances! We are much less worried about getting the buried seeds to grow, and thankful that the dust has settled for now.
Sending LOTS of love from the farm,