Hurricane Farm

  (Scotland, Connecticut)
A view of life on our farm
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Winter Continues

It was "supposed to, maybe, probably, it could" snow all week here in Connecticut.  We had rain.  But...Friday came and so did the snow.  Finally!

The maple buckets are in the woods and there is a fresh layer of clean, peaceful snow on the ground.  Perfect conditions for woods-walking and maple sugarin'!

The ducks and geese love it.  They take this opportunity to escape from the mud and clean their feathers.

Even the hogs like the snow, since it gives them something new to dig in.  This one is almost ready for market.

This is Butch.  He seems to be the current ruler of the barnyard.  He doesn't mind the snow, and is the first one out of the barn despite weather conditions.

The Sugaring Hut...now fully piped, roofed, and ready to keep on sugarin'.  We'll be adding some tin roofing in the Spring time.  As it was, I was barely able to finish it to this stage before the sap started flowing!  It works great, though, and now we can sugar in all sorts of nasty weather.

Here is one of our "snow plows" hard at work.

Another shot of the new Sugarin' Hut.

Here's Liev heading out to "plow" the "bridges" that we've put out to get us across the small streams and into the woods.

With all the rain, the water in the woods is flowing quite rapidly!  In fact, some of the jugs that we set out on some the trees are now inaccesible.  The larger brook has swollen beyond its banks and we can't get to some of the maple trees to retrieve the sap.  Paco the Cat, however, does not seem bothered by this.

We use milk jugs to gather the sap once we run out of metal buckets and 5 gallon pails.  You can see a couple of the jugs on some trees that are now in the midst of the brook.  We'll have to wait to collect from those for a while...Or else brave the bitter cold water?  I think we'll wait...At least until my Dad comes down and is loking for a job to do!  Bring your waders, Dad!

Another tree now in the middle of the brook...

Finally, here is a cool tree bound by wild grape vines.  Pretty neat find out there at the edge of the woods.

 
 

Winter and Snow

Winter has set in and we have a solid covering of snow.  Looks like we'll be covered until the maple sap is running in March!  It snowed earlier than usual and has been colder than usual.  Such a combination has resulted in a nice white blanket throughout the state.

Neither the cold nor the snow seem to bother plant and animal life here in Scotland, CT, however.

The geese are still strolling around as if they own the place...That is, until the turkeys emerge from the wooded wetlands and take over.

The turkeys still "free-range" all winter, but there is little for them to eat so we offer them some grain each day.  This helps to keep them from "running away," as well.  In the summer and fall they eat entirely what they find in the woods and the fields, but the pickings are a little bit slimmer this time of year.

Even in the middle of a cold winter, the poultry prefer to remain outside.  The turkeys can enter the barn and roost within, but unless it is snowing outside, they still would rather sleep in the trees and atop the barn and sugar-shed.

These heritage toms and hens will be our breeding stock and hopefully provide us with all the poults that we'll need for this year's Thanksgiving.  We'll see how their production is in the late winter and then determine if we need to supplement our needs.  We're once again planning to expand our turkey operation and raise more birds.  We've been selling out faster and faster each season!

Here's Bertrude:

Here's Hiram:

Even though it's frigid and the water for the animals needs to be changed and dethawed several times per day, it is NOT too cold for a RED SOX cap!

And speaking of the cold:  check out what Erica and Liev dug out of the snow in the garden.  The kale is STILL growing, even in 20 degree weather!  This stuff sure is hardy!  It's now officially a year-round crop for us.  Hooray!

I can't believe that this stuff can still make it through this weather.  AND it's tasty!

 
 

It's (Another) Snow Day

It's another snow day here in New England.  We have about 8-10 inches with another few on the way.  Luckily, I spent some time working on the tractor yesterday.  It's a 1963 Farmall Cub, by the way.

Last month, I ordered a plow extension plate which makes the small plow on the tractor into a bigger small plow.  It worked great today.  Pushing the snow was no problem at all.

Recently, though, my tractor has been suffering during start up and also while running under load.  I have all the parts for a magneto rebuild and the tractor repair man will be coming by (hopefully) sometime soon to show me how to rebuild it.

Meanwhile, though, I was able to install a new carburetor.  I also have a new manifold and exhaust system to put in as soon as it is a little warmer.  I added a new throttle assembly (sort of like the gas pedal, though you run it with your hand) and also flushed out the transmission (it froze up earlier in the winter!  water got in there) and added the missing gasket that allowed water to seep in. 

It was still running rough after new spark plugs (I've now experimented with every brand on the market) and wires, so I cleaned out the main jet in the carb, adjusted the governor a touch, and it seemed to work pretty strong today.

I think that the spark is still sort of weak, so the magneto rebuild should have the tractor as good as new.  (As good as new for a 1963 tractor, of course.)  The new exhaust will also bring down the relative noise level I suspect.

This is a photo of the small plow without the added extension plate.

Did I mention that it's a snow day?

What is a snow day without some sledding?

 
 

It's a snow day

It's been a rather snowy winter thus far, and we are loving it!  I finally figured out the most efficient way to plow snow.  What I mean by that is I have finally figured out how to do it and move the snow only once.  The first few times I moved it here, then moved the pile there, then realized it was in the way and moved it yet again...

Who needs a heated cab?  Or a cab, for that matter?  The little tractor is one of the greatest things we've bought for the farm.

My son also plows, though he does it with his shovel (his "blue plow" as he calls it).  Here he is after a successful summit attempt atop one of our snow mounds.

Our cat is a cat of many names.  The kids sometimes call him "Milk."  They more often call him "Paco."  I call him "Pibbs," "Mr. Pibbs," or "Paco the Pibbs."  Sometimes I call him "Paco Ike."  He answers to them all affectionately.  Here he is running along the pasture fence in the snow.

 

 
 
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