Saturday, March 24, 2012



I hate to do it but something has to give.  I will be stepping back and taking a little break from my blog.  We have lots going on at the homestead that I will someday write about.  It’s all good.  Check back in a bit!  Peace!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Homemade Smoker by Maine Man

After studying and looking at several different homemade smokers I finally built one this past fall.  The 2 things I was looking for was a design that was inexpensive and simple to operate.  An old electric oven, a tray full of charcoal brickets and hickory wood chips was the perfect combination I was looking for!  It provides consistent, regulated heat source much like a commercially built model.  All I needed to do was wire up a  220 volt extension cord.  That same day we were smoking up a storm.

Our local butcher shop charges 45 to 50 cents per pound for smoking. Pictured above are some of the bacon and hams from our last pig.  I love to save a buck, plus it’s just gratifying when you take food from the field and put it on the table.

My mother had an old slicer at her house that hadn’t been used in quite some time.  It needed a little tinkering but it was well worth it. I wish I had bought one years ago.  It worked slick for making consistent cuts of meat.  Above is some of the finished delicious bacon.  Thanks Mom!

Below are a few Lakers that Country Boy caught on Moosehead Lake.  They smoked up great, much of the greasiness dripped away.  Hands down the best Lake Trout I have ever eaten.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Got SAP?

We were blessed with an unseasonably warm February with very little snow. Pretty sure this is the earliest we have ever tapped but I begged and pleaded with Maine Man to place some taps…..and he did!  Last week they all ventured out to fulfill my wishes while I was at work.  MM was even sweet enough to take a few pictures for me.  He’s a keeper I tell you!

This year they put out a total of 12 taps.  Last year we put up a little over 5 gallons of maple syrup and to date we have 3 quarts left.  Much of it we consumed ourselves but we did give some away to friends & family.

This is our 4th year harvesting sap.  If you care to read back on our previous experiences just click here on the years….2009, 2010, 2011.

Flower Girl much prefers real maple syrup over the store bought nastiness high fructose syrup. Country Boy will go first for the store bought if it is available.  Fortunately, the supermarket hasn’t been stocking it as of lately ;) .  So there is only one option and I’ve yet to hear him complain.

Unfortunately, the wonderful warm weather we had been experiencing has changed and we are back to winter.  With that said, sap is not running.  It is the warm days and cool nights that keep the sap flowing.  We’ve only boiled down 3-4 gallons of sap on the wood cook stove which was unintentionally overcooked which means it turned to sugar…..OOPS!  No worries, it was not wasted.  Maple sugar + vanilla creamer = the BEST coffee ever!

P.S. For those of you that did not know this,  40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of maple syrup

Thursday, March 1, 2012