Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Maple Maple Maple

" Before the budswells, before the grass springs, before the plow is started, comes the sugar harvest.  It is the sequel of the bitter frost; a sap run is the sweet goodby of winter" 
John Burroughs

So for maybe 4-5 years now we have been tapping trees and making our own Syrup. We usually get between 1-2 gallons  of Syrup - 40-80 gallons of Sap, we just can it in Jam jars in different quantities. We all have our jobs in the  process.  Tapping, collecting sap daily 1 or 2x. Boiling the sap down, finishing it off, canning it, and of course baking with it and consuming it!  Fresh Maple Syrup on good vanilla Ice Cream just can't be beat!!!  Get out and find your local Maple Farmer if you live in the Northeast.  Yum Yum Yum!!!  One of our favorite spring family  traditions!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Owls we have seen . . . . this winter and spring . . .

Saw-Whet Owls about 8 inches - quite small

Short eared Owl

Short Ear Owl Flying

Snowy Owl on Fence

Long Ear owl- blends in very well

Another Snowy Owl
It has been a great year to see Snowy Owls in this area and much of the North East.  We have also been lucky to see a few others. Although we have a nice camera lens - we still cannot get all that close to the Snowy's.  I find it amazing how well the long ear Owl blends in with the tree.  The Saw Whet is the cutest.  My daughter is involved in banding the Saw Whets as they move through with migration.  it has been a fun Owl year!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Early Spring at Chestnut Hill

Pussy Willows and Sunlight and Maggie!

Almost Syrup!!

Maybe where our ceiling friends have gotten in  . . .???

Finally Winter Aconites!

Snowdrops just today!
3 days ago 3-31

Sap man!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Inspire me . . .Early Morning Light

“It's not what you have on the outside that glitters in light, it's what you have on the inside that shines in the dark.”
- Anthony Liccone

Monday, March 31, 2014

Maple Weekend Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast


Well it has been busy times here at Chestnut Hill.  Last weekend was Pancake Breakfast fundraiser Sat. / Sunday I worked 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM both days.  This is one of our major Fundraisers for the Troop and a lot of work.  We had good success despite the snowstorm on Sunday that dropped 10 inches and made roads very difficult to travel.  I work in the kitchen keeping the pancake batter mixed, sausages to be ready to bake and general clean up  . . .  My husband flips the flapjacks and boys usually work the serving line or are runners with food from kitchen to line.  Many Hands make light work and that is what makes this work.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Canada Trip 2014

Winding lane to Lake House

Sunset on Sand Lake

A view to behold every day!


Boat Load of Snow and Good Bye it has been fun!
We have had the pleasure for 5 years to retreat to this lovely Lake House in late March. Usually 5-6 of us, to sew, watch movies, hike, cook, enjoy immensely the pleasure of each others company and relax from the everyday mundane and at times burdens.  This was our last year at this location and we will need to find another. Several of our group are also at crossroads in life that means we may not gather in this way for a long while. Lots of good food and fun, we shall miss this time but hold our memories close.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday's Food . . . Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread . . . .

So this is simply made with a sweet yeast risen dough.  Any favorite recipe will do. When a yeast dough is sweet it usually has sugar, eggs, and butter in it. Often Milk and sometimes vanilla.  So, my favorite recipe is out of the Fanny Farmer Baking cookbook that my Maid of Honor gave me when  I got married.  You make the base dough and turn it into sticky buns, kuchen, Cinnamon rolls etc.... or in this case Cinnamon Pull apart Bread.

  • Make the dough , after the first rise, roll it out in to a rectangle. 
  •  Rub butter all over the surface or brush on melted butter,  then sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.  
  • Next using your Pizza cutter cut your rectangle into 2-2.5 inch strips vertically then make similar cuts horizontally until you have squares or rectangles.
  • Pick up 4 and stack them and place in your well greased Bread pan, into 2 rows. 
  • Set pan in a warm place and let it rise again.
  • Bake as directed by your base dough,  usually 30-35 min at 350 degrees or until golden brown.
  • Remove from pan and enjoy while warm

A couple of basic Yeast Sweet Dough recipes are as follows:   - this one makes a lot of dough- probably 2 of these.  Amount of flour tells you how much you are making, this one has 8-10 cups of Flour, standard is closer to 4-6 cups.