Miscellany

Our potatoes kept fine all winter, then as soon as it was vaguely spring, they started to sprout and shrivel. I give up. How can the seed potatoes, in a bucket in the basement where conditions really won’t change till May, know when it’s March? The annoying part is that the ground is still frozen solid in March. It is not even close to planting time.

I ordered the Octagon 20 eco incubator from Brinsea last week. It doesn’t come with a turning cradle, but I figured I could use the one we have. Guess what? It doesn’t fit. Instead of straight sides, they’re rounded. I squeezed it in. It fits but bends the sides of the cradle out just enough to keep it from turning. Off to see if I can shim it out.

I’ve decided that the bees just don’t like the fancy raw sugar we have 150 lbs of. When I made it into syrup last fall, only the grasshopper hive which had no honey at all ate it. This spring, the surviving hive sucked down half a feeder full in a week. Then the red maple bloomed. I don’t think they’ve touched a drop since. The had no issues with maple sap.

Lisa’s camera has bitten the dust again. This one had one of those extending lens things. Oops. It didn’t last close to as long as her Sony T100. It turns out Olympus makes a waterproof, shock resistant digital camera. And all the reviews — kayakers, people with kids, etc. say that it is. Unfortunately they also say that it is a waterproof, shockproof marginal camera: short battery life, weird (expensive) memory card, less than wonderful pictures. The best anyone says about the pictures is ‘adequate’.

I’ve seen them in two stores, but neither demo model would turn on. Darn it, I sell pigs in pokes, not buy them.

Long boat in color Our chickens are finally laying enough that we’ve used up our saved and donated egg cartons. We also have enough to ‘officially’ sell. So we’re now using new cartons, with our spiffy, RSA compliant label.

Maple Memoranda

Perfect Pancakes We got the same final amount as last year, with a lot less work hauling sap. (Quarts and pints up on Etsy.) Not surprising, we had the same number of taps, just more conveniently sited.

Silver maple does suck. I deliberately tapped two silver maples, big trees right next to the road. They produced little sap and that not sweet. Now I know for sure. Both trees are nice sawlogs for our mill.

The plan for next year is more taps, of course. This is going to require some improvements. My being gone for three days a week means a minimum of 72 hours between sap runs, and that if I work in the dark after driving up from Boston. Based on this year, I think five gallons of storage per tap will be enough. We had a few overflows, but all in buckets with two good taps. Best would be 50 or more gallon tanks with many taps feeding in, so we could average. That means getting a vehicle down to the swamp to pick the sap up.

Finally, we need, if not a real sugar house, some shelter for the evaporator. We can’t raise production unless we can boil in the rain: we can only store so much sap for so long.

OK, 11 months to work this out.

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2 Comments

  1. Mark
    Posted April 6, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps what you need to do with the camera problem is buy the cheaper ones in bulk for the same price you would have bought a more pricey one. So when the first one bites the dust, you can reuse the parts from it to the next one in line and so on. You seem to be mostly taking pictures for Flickr and their requirements for pics aren’t all that strenuous, a 4-5 mp camera should be sufficient for your needs, certainly something in the $100-200 range (or less used on eBay) makes more fiscal sense than a $600-700 behemoth thats going to die in a few months.

  2. Frank
    Posted April 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    The good news is that the camera that died isn’t that pricey. We do have a $600 DSLR, which we coddle appropriately. It takes 6 Mpixel photos better than the 8 Mpixel point and shoot. You can’t carry it while doing chores, but if there’s time to fetch it the shots can be breathtaking.

    The issue is a pocket camera whose pictures can make 8.5×11 prints that can be looked at carefully. Lisa’s Sonys have been just good enough. She and I have both won prizes (local) and made few bucks with our pictures. With only one income we can’t buy $250 cameras regularly, but neither am I willing to settle for a camera whose shots aren’t good enough to sell.

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