Thursday, March 23, 2017

Maple Syrup fun on the farm

This winter we decided to do something that we had never done before....tap Maple trees! We decided to start out small at tap the few large Silver Maple trees in our front yard. Even though they weren't Sugar Maple trees, we decided that the small different in sugar content (2.0% sugar in Sugar Maples vs. the 1.7% sugar in Silver Maples) wasn't enough to detour us. 

This year we started this 10 taps and only collected sap for a week. Since it was a warm winter, the sap in the trees started running much earlier, so we ended up beginning our tapping at the end of the sap run, even though it was only the second week in February. 

So, we began by setting 2 taps in each of our large Silver maple trees. We collected morning and night, keeping the collected sap in food safe five gallon buckets and storing them in a large walk in cooler (sap must remain chilled until you process it)

My three older children (9,8, and 3) had an awesome time drilling the holes and hammering in the taps! It was such as fun process and great learning experience for all of the kids.

After collecting about 40 gallons of sap, we began our cooking day mid morning on a Saturday. We collected several large pots and built a few different fires and began the cooking process. As the sap would boil down, we would add the remaining sap until all of the sap in the buckets were in a pot. Then it was just a waiting game as it cooked away.

We made an entire day of it, and even cooked our stew next to one of the boiling sap pots. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and made it a wonderful family day. It was the most fun, as a family, we had in a long time!

We boiled well past dark, and once the sap had boiled down to about an inch to an inch and a half, we strained the sap into a smaller pot and moved into the house for the final boil!

Once in the house we continued to cook the sap until it reached 7 degrees above boiling. For our area in Indiana, that is 219 degrees. Once the sap reached that point, it was officially syrup. The hot syrup was filtered for the second time and put into mason jars and waterbath canned for 10 minutes to ensure that they properly sealed and the jars were sterilized. Once they were waterbathed, they were taken out to cool.

We started with 40 gallons of sap and ended with 1 gallon of syrup! Not bad and was perfect for the ratio (40 gallons to 1 gallon). 

We had such a wonderful time and have enjoyed having our own syrup so much, that we are planning on doubling if not tripling the amount of taps and trees we do next year. We also are going to pay closer attention to the weather patterns to ensure that we have a longer sap run to work with! That would provide us with a TON of sap!

Another idea we are going to put into place next year is to put in a sap cistern. We are purchasing a 100-200 gallon water tank that we will bury in the ground. We will then store our collected sap in the cistern until we are able to process it. This will ensure that the collected sap stays at an appropriate temperature. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 Kids

We have a few kids available and more to come in May. Please see our Doe page and For Sale page for more information. If you would like to reserve a kid, please contact us at 

Available this year:

F1, F2 and F3 mini alpines
F1 mini saanens 

We also have a 5 year old 3rd Freshener Mini Alpine available for sale. She is bred for May kids and will be sold as is.  

Our Mini Alpine Journey

This year we have a total of six does kidding, four of which are mini alpines! This year we will have our first F3 or American mini alpines, meaning we are that much closer to having purebred Mini Alpines. This has been a long journey for us. We purchased our first French Alpine doe and Nigerian buck in 2010 as bottle babies in hopes to one day get to this point.

After two years of kidding ourselves, and lucking out to find another F1 mini doe locally, we began the mini breeding process with 2 of our own does. We had a difficult time finding the quality of buck we wanted, so in 2014 we purchased and had flown in our Herdsire from Idaho.

The following year, 2015, we kidded out our original herd queen Apple (french alpine doe), and our three mini alpine does, giving us a beautiful crop of 2 F1 doelings, 4 F2 doelings and 1 F2 buckling! We retained one doe from that kidding!

Last year, 2016, we unfortunately lost our French Alpine doe a month before she was due to kid. We then kidded out our three mini alpine does and were blessed with 3 F2 doelings and 3 F2 bucklings; retaining one doe and one buckling.

This year we are kidding out four mini alpine does (one has currently kidded), one nigerian dwarf doe and a saanen doe (currently has kidded).

We are excited to continue this process, and hope that so many more people in our area will learn and fall in love with this awesome breed! They are quite a remarkable goat and are perfect for homesteads, especially with young children.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to reserve a kid of your very own. We are able to offer breeding pairs to help start your herd off right!

Maple Syrup fun on the farm

This winter we decided to do something that we had never done before....tap Maple trees! We decided to start out small at tap the few large ...