February 29, 2012 – Cat in the Box

Really not sure what to say about this!  Our cat, Steve, must be leading a double life as a chicken, looking for a cozy place to sit, or just needing a little uninterrupted “me time.”

cat in nest box

I hope he’s hunting, but his posture doesn’t project an alert mouser.

February 28, 2012 – Skystream a Topic in Italy

I was checking out the blog statistics, and noticed an unusual spike in traffic from Italy this week.  Italy?  Really? Had I offended the Holy See? Were my food pictures being mocked by Italian chefs?  Upon a deeper dive, I found the traffic mostly coming from a URL of a wind energy newsgroup that was discussing small wind turbines.  A few of the comments as translated through an online translator from Italian to English are pasted below.

Thanks I just try to put that bit of knowledge and information to those who are interested in micro wind power as an industry in its infancy, the maglev would not know, I attach an email that came my belief that this is an excellent turbine but not yet in Italy found, but there are production data that can make us understand the potential of micro wind.


Very interesting, this seems very solid Skystream. Sure the movie is perceived distinctly the noise when it is exposed to wind a bun, I think it is normal for a 2.6 kW turbine that spins at 330 rpm, but the problem would become serious if it were installed (at least that power) to ‘inside of a town center or, worse still on the roof of a house. Listening to the video instead of futurenergy I had the impression that it is much quieter, you confirm?

February 26, 2012 – The Sweetness of February Begins

It was a good Sunday.  I had been pretty much cooped up working indoors the last few weeks, so I was looking forward to a nice day outdoors.  Today was double-duty farm work.  It was time to boil down 15 gallons of maple sap and begin pruning the fruit trees.

mobile sugar shack

Here’s the world famous mobile sugar shack.  An old barrel stove on a metal wagon that can be moved around to account for the wind – and it was windy today – near wind advisory criteria.  This photo pretty much shows it all.  Cart with wood, buckets with sap, coffee cup, willing boy, stove and evaporator pan a bubbling, and maple tree with container in the background.

Today’s enterprise is uber-sustainable.  The wood is from the storm last summer, the plastic cartons that use the sap will be converted to tomato shelters in a few months, and the leftover logs that hadn’t burned all the way were snuffed out for some biochar.  To top it off, we produced more electricity than we used.

boy pruning tree

While we wait, it’s a good time to begin pruning the fruit trees.  Martin starts on this one that needs some attention.

boy sleeping in tree

But eventually, the kids tuckers out and finds a makeshift resting place in the branches of an apple tree.

February 24, 2012 – Snow!

The biggest storm of the year (all three inches of it) at least stuck to everything to make a fanciful landscape.

dog in snow by barn

Doggy in the snow!

snow on fence

Snow fence.

Raspberry bushes.

snow on cold frame

Clear, blue skies and snow. A look of winter.

The chief engineer didn’t design for three inches of wet, heavy snow on the cold frame.  While it didn’t open up to the outside, some of the support wires did collapse.

But of course, under the snow, the water droplets on the plastic remain fluid.

February 22, 2012 – Sap’s Running!

I thought it might be time to tap the maple trees for the spring sap run.  A quick email to our friends at Morning Sun farm found they had just tapped their trees and already had 50 gallons in the hand.

drill tap hole

Drill a hole.

pound tap

Pound in a tap.

dripping maple tap

Sap flow!

tap buckets on tree

About four hours after getting the taps in, this tree has already filled the buckets about 3/4 full.