The beginning of the week I was outside in a tank top getting the animals ready for summer, and today it is a blizzard.
Welcome to MinneSNOWta.
Hooving the Sheep.
We began our week contemplating shearing the sheep. The ewes get their tails docked in a few weeks and we need to shear them before that. The husband was persistent that we do NOT shear the sheep yet. Good thing I listened.
We did, however, trim their hooves. Our first time trimming the sheep’s hooves. Not too shabby.
But I did the worst thing a ‘blogger’ could do. I forgot to take pics of the action. We did get pics of us trimming, but no before/afters.
Don’t worry. I won’t make that mistake shearing. 🙂
Hubby got pics of me trimming hooves, and man, when they say your kids will always take the spotlight, they mean it.
Here I am. Proud I am controlling the sheep enough to dig in her nails and clip them. I am talking her through her first nail trim and she is relaxing in my arms.
I’m feeling proud.
Hubby shows me the photos of me hoof-trimming and there’s the two-year-old… upstaging me in the background.
Littler turd nugget is belly-sliding on the boulder and each photo is progressively more comical.
Gosh, I love kids. They keep you humble in the most amusing ways. Kids bring your pegs down a notch or two all while making you smile and love them more. Why do we lose that art as we grow?
Shuffling the Birds.
Another thing we did this week was move some fowl around.
Our big Cochin Rooster, Danny has been sneaking up on the boys and testing them. It was my plan to put a few roosters with the boy sheep anyway, so he got the boot.
Danny was losing his top of the throne slowly and he was getting bitter. Darth Vader was swooping his hens left and right. Poor Danny. He needed to be dominant over SOMEONE, he is just too passive.
Our rooster, Todd, has been with the sheep for about a month, and was seeming lonely. Danny and him quickly figured out their pecking order and they are pretty friendly with each other.
The other fowl we moved were Ricky & Lucy, our Pekin Ducks.
Those two troublemakers were in the road! Last year they were the protectors of the baby hens looking to go to the road. The ducks would herd the hens back up the driveway. Not this year. This year they were in the road and when we got them back in the yard they would waddle their little white butts back down the driveway.
I have no idea why or what they were after, but I am NOT about to lose ducks to traffic.
I moved them into the ewe’s pen. This way they can be out of the coop, which makes more room for the hens. Plus Ricky has been also swooping Danny’s hen’s. Ducks are not made to breed outside of water, so this was getting a little detrimental.
I will plan to move the ducks back in the coop through the winter.
Footless Pheobe Basking in the Sun.
While we were enjoying the sunny (almost 70°F) weather, Footless Pheobe got to enjoy the sunshine as we boiled sap.
She was soaking in the sun, a little confused by the wind, and definitely seemed happier to be outdoors.
The baby chicks spent a good portion of the beginning of the week outdoors as well. I lifted the cover off their cage and opened the door and they ran right out the door.
Needless to say, everyone was excited for the warm weather.
Then mother nature happened.
Maple to Birch back to Maple. MAKE UP YOUR MIND.
Last week I was suspecting 60°F+ weather for this week. PRIME Birch Tapping Season. I switched 6 of the Maple taps over to the Birch Trees and began collecting Birch Sap.
In the warm weather, we boiled all of our Birch sap down to syrup. The process is much more tedious than Maple sap. It cannot reach a high temperature as it will burn the sugar. Plus you need at LEAST 2-3x the amount of Birch sap to make syrup as you do Maple. The flavor is very similar to molasses with a woodsy tone.
I was able to already get 1.5 jelly jars of Birch Syrup. I cannot wait to try cooking with it!
Maple syruping is much easier, less tedious and the product is DELICIOUS.
With this cold weather the next 5 or so days I switched 4 of those Birch taps back to Maple. For the next few days I plan to have 6 Maple Taps and 4 Birch. My GOAL is to get 16 more oz of Maple syrup.
If you have a Maple tree worth tapping in your yard, GO TAP. Maple syrup is like the crack of syruping. I enjoy EVERYTHING about it. The tapping, the collecting, the bonfires to boil it down, and drinking the golden product.
Mini-Muffins & Apple Kombucha.
The kids were ‘so over’ the chocolate chip muffins I had been making and asked for ‘birthday cake’ muffins. I like to live life in balance and a few sprinkles never hurt anyone (this is probably FAR from true). I am making their muffins as fresh as I can, so sprinkles are okay. If it keeps them from asking for the pre-packaged products, SURE.
I enjoy baking for the kids. I don’t HAVE to, but it makes me feel better about their health as well as helps us bond and is cheaper.
The kombucha I used as a second ferment this week was some spruce tip syrup and the leftover juice from our fermented apples. Spruce tip syrup is EXTREMELY high in Vitamin C, which I think we all need right now. Spring colds hang on forever and I am not trying to get sick right now. The Cinnamon Apple Kombucha was SO GOOD. I made an entire pitcher of that and am so happy I did.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,