In theory, according to the calendar, it's been spring since March 20th. In practice, the weather has been all over the map thus far this year, which has made it hard to plan and anticipate outdoor responsibilities and projects. Despite the unpredictability, we've managed to have some happy successes
Exhibit A: Syruping
I'd pretty much decided by the end of March that we weren't going to get any maple syrup this year. Between the random spikes in temperature and prompt re-freezes, it looked like the trees were going to bud (and make the sap bitter) before we got the proper temperature spread we needed to get decent flow.
Fortunately, my husband is more optimistic than I am and realized that we had a second chance in the beginning/middle of this month. The temperatures fell into line, we threw taps and buckets on the trees, and spent two weeks boiling down sap. Voila! Maple syrup! We got an outsdoor burner in a different style this year which made a big difference, and I'm very pleased both that we got a generous amount of syrup and that we learned some new things that will be useful in the future about expanding our production.
Exhibit B: The Hole Project
This month, we had the pleasure of taking delivery of our very own tractor! My brilliant love did a ton of research in advance to identify what we needed and sort out the best option for our requirements. The end result is a shiny new Kubota BX tractor… well, it was shiny until we started using it! Now it's a bit on the muddy side, but I'm pretty sure that's a sign of love when it comes to utility vehicles like that, right?
We've got a number of projects lined up that the tractor will play an essential role in, of course, aside from the standard things like snow management every winter. One of our more pronounced projects underway at the moment is stump removal. We've been steadily taking down trees that were fall hazards to the house or that seriously impeded light to the house/garden areas of the yard since we moved in. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in a generous number of stumps hanging around that we'd like to also remove. If you've ever tried to dig a stump out by hand, however, you'll appreciate what a daunting, time-consuming, and often back-breaking process that can be. Compliments of the Kubota, it's getting a lot easier!
This is the current progress on an absolutely enormous and stubborn stump in the back yard. It's still too heavy/too solidly connected to rip out, but with a little more time digging it'll be gone, opening up valuable yard space for other things.
Spring/Summer weekends are going to be even more precious and packed than usual this year, but it's encouraging to finally feel like we're off to a really good start on all the things we hope to get done around the property.