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Snowdrops, Science Fairs, Sap, & Syrup

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Feeling homesteady
It’s been a very homesteady feeling weekend. For the record, we certainly wouldn’t make it as pioneers. But, we did manage to get some useful honey and beeswax from the hive.  I melted the wax and stuck a wick in it-voila! My own beeswax candle!
Our own bee products

We also began boiling down the sap into maple syrup.  We tapped the big tree in the backyard as well as two small trees across the street along the side of the road.  I’m sorry to say that the first batch was taking so long that  I confidently said it was fine when we went out. Unfortunately I was wrong and we returned home to find it had all boiled away, leaving the turkey fryer charred. You may recall that last year I compared the syrup to the $68 tomato. As we went through a tank of propane I reiterate that statement.  We’ve got tons of sap though and brought some inside to do. Check out the side by side of the two syrups.
IMG_6446
The one on the left is so dark! I think I let it cook a little too long. It doesn’t taste particularly mapley to me, though very sweet.  I prefer the flavor of the second batch, the lighter one.  This was from the sap of the trees across the road. I’m sure we’ll enjoy both on pancakes and waffles and in my homemade granola.

And what of the outing that caused the first batch to burn? Well, it was a nice day out that felt like actual spring, so we hit a geocache on our way to do an errand.  I said this before, but I’ll say it again. What I am really enjoying about geocaching is discovering little spots nearby that we never knew existed. This spot was 2 1/2 miles away (as the crow flies, I think) in a residential neighborhood. I’ve passed the street many times but never knew it basically went straight up a mountain providing stunning views of Hillsborough.  We parked on the road and accessed the backside of the Sourlands. It was a short and easy walk and we were thrilled with our find.
More Geocaching
On the way home Paul pulled over for me so that I could go check out a huge expanse of snowdrops in the woods.  What a beautiful sight!
Snowdrops

Snowdrops

We also did some gardening this weekend by helping out at Clark’s school, where the 3rd grade garden was being readied for their Seeds to Salad program. It basically bummed me out that the garden was so nice and I was helping till their beautiful wormy soil when I had yet to do my own! I did come home and start turning the soil in the beds, but need to rake out all the junky dried plant matter. I’m determined to get my peas in this week!
And we began the weekend by visiting the science fair. I really enjoyed seeing all the kids’ projects and the different topics. Some are very popular (how much sugar is in a drink, solar system, make a tornado, etc.). Clark came up with a great topic all on his own-Was This the Worst Winter Ever?
science fair
After analyzing data the conclusion was “No, there have been colder and snowier winters.” Of course, more snow is predicted this week–argh!!! The test tubes are filled with sugar to represent inch for inch how many inches of snow fell that year. Good job, scientist!

 

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About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

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