Maple syruping for beginners, Part 2: Tapping

Drilling a tap hole

After you get all your equipment together, it’s time to tap. (for equipment: http://mainemorsels.bangordailynews.com/2014/03/23/maine-morsels/maple-syruping-for-beginners/) Choose your trees Sugar maples have a higher sugar content than other maples, which means you get more syrup per gallon of sap. We have a few sugar maples, but use mostly red maples. The flavor is as deep and maply […]

Cranberries in March? Yes, it’s the best time to pick.

Plump red winter cranberries

We went cranberrying in Northeast Creek in November, but did not get many. It was a banner year for cranberries, too. All my fellow foragers and gatherers were telling tales of over a dozen gallons, and easy picking. But I needed cranberries for the holidays, so gave up hunting, and went to Snugglemagic Farm pick-your-own […]

How to make the world’s best salt

Seawater full of salt

I do not use a lot of salt when I cook, but when I do, I reach for the very best salt, bar none, on this planet. It is Zea Salt, and I harvest it here in Otter Creek when the wood stove is running. Sea salt is very easy to make, and if you […]

Winter outside, spring inside: How to force branches to leaf

Forced forsythia

I’ve noticed forsythia twigs are now for sale in the local grocery stores. If you can’t go out and snip a few twigs yourself, bringing these home to blossom while the outside world is still in the deep freeze is a way to bring spring into your heart. I also cut aspen, red maple, and […]

The fly that catches big fish, but no men.

Salmon caught with Rodney on the Maramichi River, New Brunswick, Canada

Fly for a lifetime, by Dennis L. Smith In the early 1970’s I had the good fortune to learn fly-casting and fly-tying. My teacher and mentor, G. M. Haskell, who also happened to be my dentist, knew I fished and introduced me to fly-fishing. When I was in his chair and completely under his power […]

Yellow or white, this is the time for perch.

white and yellow perch caught under the ice

You can catch perch in the warm seasons, but it is now, when they have been living in icy water, that they are at their peak. The flesh is firm, and very mild. It is a beginner’s fish. If you are new to ice fishing, it will probably be one of your first catches. Pickerel […]

Simple pleasures: Selections from my bookshelf

Life can get complicated pretty easily. I have a few things that ground me. Two of them are daily sunrise salutations, however brief, and the world’s best commute, where the landscape is different every day. I also have a few go-to books that bring me right back to seeing the joy that is here, free, […]

Maple syruping for beginners

glass bottles and jars for syrup

Like many hobbies, maple syruping can be done very simply and inexpensively, or you can have equipment lust. There are plenty of tempting syrup accessories out there, from felts and filters to stainless evaporators. We have upscaled with a handmade evaporator replacing the lobster pot, and felts replacing the cheesecloth, but backyard syruping is easy […]