Our maple syrup making adventure is over for the year – It’s still prime collection season but we were having trouble cooking it all up inside the house. We have a propane-gas stove, and propane is not cheap. Plus I just didn’t like leaving it cooking for so long at a time. Next year I will need to figure out a way to boil it outside, preferably using some kind of wood burning set up. The collection bags weren’t the best option either, but they did the job. I ended up using large sticks to weigh them down so they wouldn’t get out of place. My sister Diane, commenting on my last post, told me about our parents using old milk jugs to collect the sap, which I still don’t remember. I’m older so I don’t know how she remembers these things better than I do. So next year, instead of using flimsy sap bags, or expensive buckets, I will use old milk jugs. For a couple weeks of collecting and boiling, we did pretty well in my opinion. Considering that the sap to syrup ratio is about 40:1, I think we got enough for this year:
The Mushroom kits I’ve been growing have done somewhat well – It’s possible we just don’t have the moisture in our kitchen that they needed, but I was expecting a little more at one time. The oyster mushrooms only gave us a few mushrooms for their first flush. The pom pom blanc, which were supposed to taste like crab meat, were not as good as I hoped. The mushroom clump doubled in size since my last post, and I wasn’t really sure when I should harvest them – they started to look like the pictures you see online of them – with some little tendrils (kind of like a lion’s mane) – so I thought that was the right time to pick them. I cooked it up in a little butter, so as to not drown out the flavor, but I was unimpressed. The shiitake are doing well, here is the large mushroom that is currently growing:
There are little baby mushrooms on the right side of the log, and in the picture above, I think the white webby-looking stuff on the bottom may be another cap forming – it has a similar appearance to the cap of the large mushroom, but it hasn’t actually popped out of the log yet, so I can’t really be sure. I’m very excited to eat the shiitake mushrooms, since I know I like them. The oyster mushrooms were very good too, we just didn’t get a lot. I have the oyster and pom pom blanc logs drying for now, and in a month or two I will try to start them again – you are supposed to be able to get a few flushes.
Our six little chicks are growing up. They have changed a whole lot in their three weeks of life. I’m really excited to see their coloring change – some have changed in unexpected ways. I’m sure they will change a lot more as they grow up too. I’ll have to wait to see what kind of chickens they are (and what gender they are) until they are almost or fully adults. Here are their updates, along with pictures of when I first got them, so you can see the difference three weeks makes.
I’m really enjoying watching them grow. I will be getting the replacements for their fallen brethren around April 20th, so I will have even more chicks to watch grow up at that point. Some day my spare bedroom will stop being a chicken nursery. Until then, this is pretty fun.