Since Spring still hasn't come our way yet I decided to tackle an inside project today. My workspace here at the homestead was rather small and didn't have any really good work surface. We didn't really need to have a door between the shower and the rest of the bathroom so I took it out a few months ago. Today I turned that door into a desk. I purchased some really nice legs from Lowes, cleaned the door up nice and attached the legs using brackets for that purpose. I am now writing this from my new desk. There are still a few finishing touches that I want to do before I paint the entire thing but it is functional now. My filing cabinet fits right under the surface and I am going to add a shelf on the opposite end from the computer and chair. I have more salvaged plywood for the shelf and it will hold a couple of baskets that I have to keep office things in. There is enough room for my printer too. The door is 80"x22" so that is a lot of room. I might have to get a piece of acrylic to put on the surface since it is a raised panel door but we will try it without for awhile and see. Now I just have to find a place to put my Great Grandpa's desk that I was using.
My husband and I are trying to take more responsibility for our health and how we address common illnesses in our household. We have recently discovered the amazing ability of essential oils to not only help you when you are sick but to keep you healthy with everyday use. We use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils from a company called Doterra. They have many straight oils such as lavender and peppermint but they also have oil blends that are formulated to help with certain issues. They have a oil called Breathe that really helps when your chest is congested. I am endeavoring to learn more and will share what I learn and experience.
While the west coast is still in severe drought conditions we had yet another snow storm here in Maine. Over the course of about 36 hours we got an additional 19.5 inches here at the homestead. Of course that just added to the couple of feet that was still on the ground from previous storms. The front of the barn is now all cleared away so we won't have to use the previously shoveled path any longer.
Well, our winter does not seem to be over. The weather folks are predicting a storm of 6-12 inches of snow for us in the next couple of days. We have had a few days that were above freezing but they are predicting the temperatures to drop again. Depending on how much snow we get this week I will be tapping the maple trees this coming weekend. I really cannot wait too much longer.
I have been planning my new herb garden that I will be putting into my food landscape. I will have many different culinary and medicinal herbs. I am going to plant most of them from seed around the first of April. That is the same time that I start a lot of the plants for my garden. This extra growing time for many heat loving plants like tomatoes and peppers is necessary here in zone 4. We are only guaranteed about a 90 day growing season between last and first frost. Of course there are plants that will stand a light frost and even get better with one.
It is nice to have something to plan with all the snow still on the ground but I am really looking forward to get my hands in the dirt.
Okay, today is March 1st and it was -9 at the homestead when I got up this morning. I'm not sure we had a dozen nights above zero during the month of February. Oh well, planning for Spring must go on. While it is a bit cold to do much outside, and of course all the snow inhibits outdoor activities as well, the next event will be tapping our maple trees for syrup. The best sap running weather is below freezing nights and warm days. We only tap 8-10 trees each year and they are not sugar maples but they still yield enough for our maple syrup needs for the year.
Traditionally we have boiled the sap off on our wood stove in the house. But now that we are tapping more than the six trees we started with years ago it gets to be a pretty big mess to do inside. We purchased a two burner propane camp stove and will begin using that this year. It is necessary to have the two burners since I use a two kettle system to boil the sap. The first has the new sap in it and the second does the final boil down to the consistency and color that we want.
The system we use to boil our sap is pretty simple, not like the dozens of sugar houses that dot the landscape of Maine. Soon we will be celebrating Maple Sugar Sunday here in the state and many of these commercial sugar houses open their doors to the public so we can get a "taste" of how maple syrup is made. This year it will be March 23. If you are in Maine around that time plan on visiting one of the farms listed on the Maine Maple Sunday website.
Now if the weather would just cooperate!!!