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vt_maple_man
Summer is moving along at a rapid pace...seems so because I have been busy with bagpiping, doing work on the house, barn chores and mowing pastures and doing some major repair work on the truck...not to mention the "outside" jobs for others that actually make money. These include cleaning dog and parrot cages, repairing the neighbor's roof, mowing Marge's lawns, trimming trees for another, sanding and sealing someone's porch...
I will be playing the pipes at a wedding on Dark Island in the St. Lawrence Seaway at the famous Singer Castle!
I will take a boat to get out there with the caterer and the bride.
Before that happens I am going to Grantham NH to help a friend take down a 1700's house with chesnut beams! He will be moving it to his hill farm in S.Randolph, about an hour north.

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I remember when we were young and growing up in Putney, Vt, when it rained and even during some thunderstorms, we kids would strip down and run around the yard in it! Mom would watch from the screen door. Some would say that it was tempting fate to be "outdoors" during a lightning storm...we and apparently mother did not subscribe to ideas like that! Anyway the cool puddles and rain felt good on our skin.
I have always felt some primitive connection with being out in dramatic weather. Not a tornado!
Back to now, we had a nice storm this afternoon and it cooled the air off to a pleasant 77 F.
Time for a roast chicken dinner and then I go play pipes at the start of a Relay for Life in a near town.
P
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July 5th, day after giant fireworks in Rochester. They were spectacular, but somehow seem wasteful???
Yes the hay is all in the barn after several days of hot sweaty unloading.
I am finally putting the new steel on the rest of the machine shed roof! It has been waiting to be done for four years. It has been hot, up in the 80's and low 90 for a few days, and no rain for a week or two. Its summer.
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I cut the 7 acres of thick hay on Tuesday afternoon. It rained on it Tuesday night and Wed morning. I have tedded it (fluffed it up) so that air can dry the water out of it. I am expecting that it will be ready to bale on Friday around 1:30pm.
Floyd will help rake the hay on Friday, Bill will be driving the tractor and baler, and Cory and I will be on the wagon loading the bales as they come off the baler! Should be dusty and...fun! I love making hay in the summer.
P
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Well I am still waiting for those "perfect" days for haying. They may not be perfect when they get here, the climate seems to be altering itself lately! We will get some goods days eventually.
Meanwhile I got all the machinery set up and ready to go. New belts, chains tightened, greased...
I am making a black locust bench for the Italian garden over at Linwood Gardens in Pavilion, NY An old estate with many beautiful flowers during May each spring.



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I am waiting for a good spell of weather to cut the hay and get it dried. Hard to believe the "weather forecast" when it doesn't seem to follow what really happens! I need about three days to dry the hay...it is quite thick this year due to a heavy application of manure last fall. I have one more wagon to repair and a spring to put on the baler.
Maple syrup sales are good, the sign out at the road brings in a number of people looking for a quart or gallon.
I have several carpentry jobs to attend to this next two weeks, repair the soffits on one house, make a bench for a garden, finish putting new steel on our barn, and the final touches on a bathroom.

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This is one of my favorite times of year...the smell of fresh-mown hay is on the air...our new bee hive is working to gather nectar and pollen, I am rebuilding a large hay wagon before I begin cutting the new crop. I am hoping that there won't be too many birds trying to nest in the hay as I am cutting it... Bobolinks find it especially hard to raise young because they nest in grasses and farmers cut the hay right in the middle of nesting. In Argentina, where the bird migrates for our winter, they are considered a pest in the crops and are killed. Back some 30 years ago, when the timing of the hay season was later , say in mid-June or end of June, such birds using hay fields had more time to raise young before the hay was cut.
The maple syrup I saved for bottling is now bottled and labeled...ready for sale to customers. It is available in quarts, pints and 375 ml jugs. I will be making a limited amount of granulated maple sugar for our family's consumption, but may have a bit to sell.
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Well, the weather can always surprise us...and it has again. After many relatively warm days with new leaves opening, tulips blooming and birds nesting and raising their young, we have a cold spell out of the northeast and even some snowflakes! May 9th ! I remember a weekend back in the '80's we were having a horse plowing day here in Avon on May 12th or so and we all went to bed on a Saturday night...it cooled off and snowed about 8" by Sunday morning and of course all the teamsters had to "get going!" They were stuck in snow with their trucks and trailers, so I had to pull them out.
We are eating lettuce that wintered over under a hoop house, kale, too. Peas are up, but not a good germination. Rhubarb is flourishing, dill is growing well from volunteer seeds.
Peter
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Sap season went very well again! Made 178 gallons of syrup. It started early in northern Vermont...around Feb 20th! Southern Vt did not have as good a season as the norther part. It was too warm during the season and it ended early.



Pictures are of Son Peter tapping trees and son Forrest boiling sap.

P
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Have made some pokers and ash-scrapers for Watson Research. He sells and installs wood-fired water boilers that burn at about 80+% efficiency!
Also made another stainless genesa sphere of 36" diameter.
I am reading a great book by Michael Pollan...IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. We all need to read this book!

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