Our first syrup season here at the farm is complete!
What a wonder.
Last Saturday we had a sweet sweet celebration to commemorate our first completed season. We gathered around Papa's hand-hewn table with roasted chicken, maple roasted root vegetables, cabbage salad, and homemade sourdough bread to feast and to celebrate all that the Lord had done for our first season.
We boiled just under 1800 gallons of maple sap.
And we produced just under 30 gallons of syrup!
We stand amazed and completely grateful for this gift of a season! For we did not plant, nor tend, nor care for these trees and they simply gave of their life-blood that we might create syrup. Thank the Lord.
We shared our favorite moments from the season:
Tirzah: getting to taste-test the syrup each and every day
Thad: he didn't quite say but he was all syrupy smiles that evening
Daniel: bottling in the morning, giving syrup samples to the children, and listening to the sap drip into the tanks
Me: the sweet-smell of the house as we finished boiling in the early mornings, and filling my coffee cup with warm syrup for morning devotions.
Papa: seeing that "amber gold" come out of the tap, and being outside to see the stars each night
Yoyo: the morning times over bottling, and working together as a family
And we handed round gifts we found at the local Dollar Tree and shared ice cream and homemade maple apple crisp. We prayed and offered sweet celebratory thanks to the Lord. It was the perfect way to end the season.
And though I will miss that maple smell and those sweet taste-tests, we have so much to look forward to as the seasons change and Spring's beauty slowly begins to blossom around the farm.
With Spring's arrival that means preparation for our ladies coming... we have 40 laying hens coming here to live on Easter afternoon! And so that means it's chicken coop time.
I am beyond proud of Daniel and all the hard-work he put into the creation of this coop. He designed and built every inch of it and it is beautiful!
This finished product will be taken down to the meadow in a few days with the tractor, and will sit ready for the ladies. Each morning we will open the coop to allow them a full-days foraging on fresh green meadow. We will set up a fence to keep them in and that fence, along with the coop, will be rotated around the meadow every few days to guarantee the chickens fresh grass and insects. Essentially they are pasture-raised with just a touch of supplemental non-GMO grain. We can't wait to find and taste that first egg!
And so as life on a farm goes, we move from one season to the next, looking back with grateful hearts and souls and looking forward with great anticipation and hope.
My brother and sister in law shared a sweet song with us a few years ago; we have often sung it around the table for blessings in the early morn here in Raphine. It embodies perfectly how we feel, here, now, as we close the chapter on one season and turn to the next:
We trust the story behind us, the beauty, hope, and love.
We're stepping toward a future, with abiding faith in God.
We wait with senses ready, for the blossoms yet to come
Like tender shoots in springtime, we are reaching toward the sun.
"Original music/lyrics written by Tom and Karen Wuest" https://tomwuest.bandcamp.com/