Tuesday, March 25, 2014

making maple syrup

A few weeks ago my husband and I went to a maple sugaring workshop at our state park. I had just had surgery on my left hand 2 days before but my husband still drug me to the workshop because he said I will be glad I went and of course he was right. I am so glad we went. I cannot say I had alot of fun at the workshop because I was still recovering from the surgery but I did have fun the weeks after the workshop. We decided to tap the maple trees around here. We found 12 maple trees to tap this year. It is harder to tell which ones are maples when there are no leaves on them so in the summer we will be going around and seeing where all of them are while they have leaves. The first thing we had to do was figure out how to make taps because we did not have time to order some and have them arrive before the season is over because there is a short few week window to tap them and get enough sap so my wise husband made me some taps from the casing from some ink pens. They worked great! We hung gallon jugs and 2 liter pop bottles to collect the sap.

This one hung on a tree in my mom and grandma's front yard and it also is the one that collected the most sap. I am pretty sure this is a sugar maple tree but I will know for sure in the summer when it has it's leaves. 

 In the picture above I was having to fix one of the taps that I accidentally broke and I was fixing it in the snow! I cannot believe we are getting so much snow this year. As you can see this was the first day of spring!

Here is a picture of my sister and I emptying one of the 2 liters into a bucket. Those buckets got heavy after they were full.

When I would get the buckets of sap back to the trailer I would strain the sap with a paper towel lined funnel into quart and half gallon mason jars to keep in the refrigerator until the weekend.

When the weekend arrived and after I collected gallons of sap I would then spend the whole day boiling the water out of the sap to get down to the sweet goodness of syrup. It takes lots and lots of hours to boil all of the water out. Next year my husband is going to have a place built outside to boil down the sap so that we don't have to use so much electric running the stove all day and because I plan to have alot more sap. 

The picture above shows when the sap is almost done and made into syrup. We boiled it until the temp was around 220 degrees. My trailer smelled really sweet.

We ended up with 3 quarts of this amazing syrup. I know there is only 2 quarts in this picture but what can I say, we really like this stuff and we already have eaten a quart.  

Isn't it amazing the things God provides naturally? I am going to use some of this to make maple candy and the rest will be used on pancakes, french toast and waffles. Yum!

Hugs and blessings to all!!


Shared at Homestead Barn Hop


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Homesteading Wife's Christian Devotional ebook review

I recieved the privilege of reading The Homesteading Wife's Christian Devotional and favorite recipes ebook and I truly enjoyed reading each page. She shares personal stories throughout the whole book to show us that we are not alone on our journey and how God got her through each day. Along with a heartfelt prayer and delicious recipe at the end of each chapter, she also includes some beautiful illustrations. I have tried alot of the recipes in this book and have loved each one and look forward to trying more. This book discusses topics on anger, hospitality, humor,  family and much more. I definitely recommend this book to all women especially the homesteading wife.

If you would like to order this book (and I recommend you do) then click here Bleesings to all!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Being content

                                                            Being content

                                         Philippians 4:11-13

                      11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be 
                      content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need,
                      and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being 
                      content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether
                      living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me 

Do you find it hard to be content in every situation you are in? I do. I find it easy to be content when things are going the way I want them too and I am comfortable but what about the times when you are not getting what you want? Those are the times when it is the hardest. I am writing this post the day after having carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand, a month ago I had the same surgery on my right hand and I realized that last time I was not very content. I refused to just relax and allow myself to heal. I just pushed myself to try and do the things I was used to doing and insisted on doing them myself instead of allowing others to help me. Instead of enjoying my days of rest I was wearing myself out and wishing the days away. All I could think about was what I could not do and being upset that life wasn't the way I wanted it to be. I was not very content. Not only was I suffering I also was not allowing others to experience the joy of helping me. I was wore out, unhappy, and causing myself unneeded pain. This time I have decided to accept the situation and be content with my circumstances and allow myself to see what God has in store. I know it is going to be great.

Is there a situation in your life that instead of being content and allowing God to give you the strength to get you through you are instead feeling that it is unfair and being miserable about the circumstance? Now is the time to pray and give it to God and allow him to give you the strength. There is no circumstance so big or so small that God does not want to help you through it.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 

Have a wonderful and blessed day.


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Here some updated pictures of some of our goat babies. Are you ready for some cuteness?

 This is a picture of Sophia eating some hay with her mom. She is our biggest kid. I think because she was a single and her mom only has her to feed she is getting all of the milk and growing nicely. Her mom's name is Nellie.
 Here is another picture of Sophia, she is very playful and here she is nibbling on the bottom of my coat.
 This handsome young man is Reggie. A couple days ago I went out to the goat pen and he was laying on the ground in the snow and could not get up. I had some help from a wonderful friend that knew what to do and I gave him some medicine and after a very long night and only 4 hours of sleep for me he is now doing wonderful. You cannot even tell anything was wrong with him. Farm life is hard but the joyful moments make it worth it. I even like the hard work of it and life is never boring. I would not ever want to give this life up.

Blessings to you all!!


 Shared at The Homeacre Hop

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What do you mean I cannot have chocolate?!

I found out a few months ago that due to some bladder issues I can no longer have caffeine. This was quite an adjustment for me. I did not realize how much caffeine I was consuming until I could not have any, even the smallest amount of caffeine causes me problems so I was on a new adventure to find things to replace some of the things I was having to give up. At first it was very difficult, good golly I was drinking a cup of coffee with chocolate creamer every morning and sometimes in the afternoon also and guess what Chocolate has caffeine in it! Aaaack! How was I going to give up chocolate. Chocolate is a girls best friend for Pete's sake. I felt like I was losing a friend but then I gathered myself and went on a journey to find other delicious items I can enjoy and tonight I am sharing some of the things I have found with you. I am also going to share a great recipe with you of one of my favorite cakes.

1.  Every Sunday morning I enjoy a white hot chocolate. At first it was a nice treat that tasted good but I still wanted my coffee but now I do not crave coffee anymore and I really look forward to this once a week treat.

2. Bengal Spice tea from Celestial Seasonings, this tea is awesome! It is the perfect blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardomom and cloves. Add some sweetener and milk and it is so close to tasting like Chai tea. I also love ginger tea with cinnamon and honey and honey, vanilla chamomile tea. 

3. I also enjoy a white chocolate Lindor truffle once in awhile as a special treat.

4. Water. Good ole H2O, I drink lots and lots of water. It is so much better for me and I am really feeling alot better.

5. Last but not least, one of my favorite all time cakes is a banana cake with cream cheese icing that my friend Cheryl Mitchell shared with me. Below is a picture she shared with me of a cake she made and the recipe. Thank you Cheryl for sharing! I hope you all enjoy.

Blessings!! ~April


1 1/2 cups over-ripe bananas, mashed (I used 5 bananas because I love them!)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, softened

2 1/8 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or sub 2 tsp white vinegar added to 1 1/2 cups whole milk, set aside)


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar


chopped walnuts


    Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
    Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
    In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
    In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
    In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
    Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
    Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
    Stir in banana mixture.
    Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (it took 1 1/2 hours in my oven so keep checking it).
    For the frosting: cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
    Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
    Add confectioner's sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.
    Spread on cooled cake.
    Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top, if desired.