Hold on! 2022 has begun!
It's been a GREAT start to 2022...never a dull moment! Thankfully, the weather this January had been fairly mild up until the end of the month when we were gifted with a cold snap and some snow. The snow melted within two days, but they are calling for a "snowpocalypse" the first week in February.
That's not to say we haven't had our share of adventures. In the beginning of January, it became pretty clear that Cinnamon, our two year old kiko/boer, was pregnant. We were hoping to skip a kidding year, but Hoss (pictured left) was bound and determined to...ummm...go on a few dates, despite our best efforts to keep the boy and girls apart. About the time we realized that she was pregnant, Hoss, Cinnamon, Honey, and Pepe' ran away from home. I'm not sure what sparked this stupid idea, but knowing Hoss, he was the mastermind behind it all. We frantically looked everywhere we could think of--driving up and down the county road yelling, rattling a grain bucket, ringing on strangers doorbells, etc. Sadly, as dark descended, we gave them up for lost. Goats don't have a great sense of direction and we saw evidence of them running down the street, meaning they weren't paying attention to what was going on. We live in the middle of the woods and along with the peace and serenity comes predator animals--coyotes, wild dog packs, bobcats, etc.
After dark, we came back inside and sat numb wondering how our lives changed so quickly. Each of us was lost in our own thoughts when my cell rang. It was a neighbor from up the street and she informed us that a different neighbor had penned up our goats when they came to say hi. We raced over and sure enough, the four knuckleheads were waiting for us and excited to see we were there to pick them up. A collective sigh of relief later, had everyone back home, locked away and grounded for the foreseeable future.
Fast forward 2 weeks and Cinnamon has two healthy kids--one boy (black and white) and one girl (mostly black). And now, because life isn't interesting enough with baby goats, Mother Nature graces us with single digit lows and upper teens to twenty as the highs. Our solar panels and battery bank is struggling to keep up with the power demand as we now need to run a heat lamp for the babies - at least for the next few weeks.
The boy is black and white the girl is mostly black. Keeping warm in the warming barrel.
We are also teased with a few sunny and warm-ish days and therefore we decide it's time to tap our maple trees. We recently purchased a Sugar Shack with the proceeds from the 2021 maple syrup and candy sales (THANKS TO ALL WHO SUPPPORTED US!). We are in the process of outfitting it and setting up our outdoor arch/cooking area to support the 160+ taps that are in place. So far, we've collected about 70 gallons of sap, which will make just over 1 gallon of syrup and we've been gently boiling it down on the wood stove. The house is starting to have that yummy maple smell! We've also invested in a few different types of bottles this year--you'll have to let us know which is your favorite!
Putting on new taps after flushing the lines. The IBC container will collect the sap.
These 250 gallon containers can fill quickly during a good run!
This picture doesn't do the hillside justice. It's steep!
Tapping the trees to get ready for the 2022 season!
Rarely do things work that easily! One empty IBC fits in the bed of the UTV!
This IBC once held alcohol from a distillery, hence the warning label.
Parts and pieces of the Reverse Osmosis (RO) system getting cleaned before use. We use new membranes each year (and change throughout the season as needed), but the housings and tubing gets a good scrubbing too!
Our new Sugar Shack overlooking the valley!