A Whiff of Spring

We’re having a mid-February thaw and it’s enough to pull me out of the winter blah’s and spark my spring fever. After a long, cold winter with way too many days in the -20°C range, a sudden spike to +14° has me pulling out my seeds and giving the chicken coop a pre-spring cleaning. I keep my seeds in this old metal tool case that I snagged from the old timber frame barn on my childhood family farm. Its rusty character makes me smile every spring. I sorted the seeds into four categories: early direct sow, start inside in a few weeks, late direct sow, and misc (like alfalfa and mung for sprouting). Those seed packets dated from 2016 or older were tossed, and a few replacement packets were added.

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Our direct sow seeds for this year will be: carrots (coreless and rainbow), french breakfast radishes, snap peas and snow peas, salad turnips, beets and salad greens. I’m trying to cut back on starting seeds inside this year because toddlers and cats are natural enemies of flimsy plastic shelving filled with dirt and delicate seedlings.

The spring feeling in the air is coming from more than just the sudden thaw. It’s also coming from maple tapping! I’ll do a more in-depth post on tapping your urban maple trees soon, but for now let me just say that this is our first year tapping the Norway Maple on the roadside, and I am overwhelmed with sap already. We collected 10 litres in a day and a half, and I’m already out of litre mason jars and fridge space.

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My plan for sap storage was to bury the buckets in the snowbanks until sap boiling day, but our snowbanks just melted before my eyes… Time to problem solve. As with traditional homesteading, community is key. I’m reaching out to friends in my neighbourhood to see if anyone has any spare fridge or freezer space in my time of need. We have this same problem when conditioning our homemade beer (ideally you’d have a cellar that stays at around 13°C), and we outsource our beer conditioning to a friend’s basement. It takes a village.

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4 thoughts on “A Whiff of Spring

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  1. I may sound dumb for saying this…but I had no idea sap was clear!! I thought it was an amber color, or yellow. At least the sap I’ve seen leaking out of trees has been! I hope you find some friends to help you out with fridge space. Too bad we don’t live close…I have most of a 7 cubic foot freezer you could use!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Evergreen sap (like pine) does leak a thicker, darker sap, but maples have clear sap that is basically just slightly sugary water. It takes a lot of boiling down to get rid of all that excess water and make syrup! And I wish I could use your freezer, too!

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