It’s been a frosty weekend. Heavy rain Saturday and barely above freezing yesterday with a brisk wind, not at all nice for putting in a garden or working on the house. Yesterday morning a white skiff of snow was visible on the trees up in the Highlands and the frost we had last night was so hard it decimated many of the bedding plants in the greenhouse. The nasturtiums were hit the hardest, killing most of them.
In the woods and around the yard everything is budding and ready to explode. The maples, elderberry and service-berry trees are in bloom. The fiddle-heads are unfurling slowly and the large leaf buds on the Mountain Ash have unfolded.
It’s time to start harvesting wild herbs again. The first to be picked is Stinging Nettle which is already several inches tall. I have to remember my gloves next time, it was a bit itchy picking this first batch without gloves or cutters. Yarrow is also ready and is next on the list to be picked.
In the herb bed at home the Chives and Soap-wort are growing well. The kitchen herb patch has a “Steam-punk” theme to it this year, I hauled old cast iron stove parts out of the embankment and made them into plant pots. I think it works great but Tracey thinks I’m losing it.
Silas and I have been watching a nesting pair of geese at the beaver-dam. The gander watches us and tries to lead us away from the nest. Silas gets so excited each time we see the geese. He tries to imitate all the bird calls we hear and so far he does the goose call the best. It will be exciting to see the little geese when they hatch in about a week or so.
Yesterday we spent a day with our kids and the students from the Middle River School visiting a farm in Margaree that makes Maple Syrup. It was a fantastic outing and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. Even though we home-school, our kids have been invited to participate in activities at this little school. It provides wonderful interaction for them and we will integrate them into this local two classroom school in September.
With Silas strapped to my chest we joined the troop and slowly hiked up the mountain following the Tap Line winding through the maple forest. The trail gradually steepened as we ascended and the main Tap Line came in handy for many, assisting the ascent up the steep section.
The kids had a blast and as you can see Angela (the Middle River School principle) is also beaming on the hike. There are 600 maple trees tapped on this slope providing an abundance of sweet nectar for many future pancakes and other delights.
Everyone, both young and old, made it up the steep grade. The descent back down a side trail was much easier. A wonderful reward awaited us at the bottom. After having some snacks/lunch we were greeted to Maple Syrup Taffy. A pot of hot maple syrup was brought out. Everyone made a clean snowball and some hot syrup was drizzled on top. With the help of a wooden stick the cooled syrup was wrapped around the end creating a delicious sweet natural lollipop.
We also had an opportunity to bottle some fresh syrup and without any hesitation we purchased one.
Later in the afternoon I picked up some local farm eggs and made homemade pancakes topped with what else but fresh Mountain Nectar (Margaree Maple Syrup). A SWEET day overall in Cape Breton.
Outside our window: Long spindly shadows slowly crawling across the field as the sun sets behind the trees.
I am thinking: It’s Tuesday already and so much to get done before the end of the week.
I am hoping: The weather will stay nice for a few more days so I can get things done outside.
I am listening to: The soft rumble of Tracey’s serger upstairs as she finishes one of her wool diaper covers.
I am creating: Some soil for new seedlings to take root in.
I am thankful for: My parents (Oma and Opa) who instilled good work ethic and taught me the satisfaction you gain from your labors.
From the kitchen: Rustling paper as Hanna digs for crackers.
Around the house: The last rays of evening sun cast across the floor.
A Moment In Time
The weather wasn’t very Spring-like, but it’s perfect for working in the woods and at the wood pile. With the odd snow flake drifting in the wind it’s a pleasure to walk through the woods without those pesky blackflies and mosquitoes constantly trying to have a quick snack, it’s inevitable though they’ll make an appearance very soon. Most of my day was spent among the Wild Things up here on the mountain. On the 10 Acre wood a small clearing is slowly appearing as I create a space among the trees for our future home site.
The chainsaw is a messy noisy tool and I use it very sparingly. It’s only use here is to fell the trees, all the limbing and bucking (cutting into pieces) is done with the axe. Without the noise from the chainsaw I can hear eagles far above screeching at each other, the chirping of birds amongst the trees and the whoosh of an occasional crow as it fly’s by.
A pile of logs has slowly accumulated which I will mill into lumber for our house later this summer. In the meantime they must be peeled to prevent the infestation of various wood boring beetles which could greatly compromise them as a usable building material.
Peeling the logs also helps prepare them for the sawing process. They will have some time to pre-dry thereby eliminating internal stresses making for more stable lumber. Most of these will become timbers for the frame of the house.
Simple tools make quick work of removing the bark and it’s on to the next log. As I maneuver and work each log a vision of it’s place within our future home slowly develops. As with everything I create our home will inherit it’s own unique story, an account of the materials, experiences and adventures that have gone into every aspect through its creation.