The cold wind whips my hair across my face as I load the logs into my crate. The frigidness of the early morning is a stark contrast to the raging fire I feed every 20 minutes. Pouring more of the clear water like liquid into the pans keeping them as full as I can. Watching for the boil to return. Stoking the flames with more and more wood to keep it as hot as I can. Back to the house I return to reset the timer for another 20 minutes. Making maple syrup is a long tedious process. About 50 gallons of sap will get us about 1 gallon of finished syrup. Each gallon is hauled by hand out of our woods and up to the storage bin. It is very labor intensive and time consuming. It cooks down all day till Pete brings it inside for me to finish on my stove. I know what to look for, what temp it must reach and how to strain it the last and final time to get the right results we want. March is really late for us to be usually doing syrup, but with it being as cold as it has been lately that’s when we were able to get to the maple trees and drill into them.
Making maple syrup is a true sign that spring is coming. Our first chicks will be arriving in about 2 more weeks and our first turkeys come next week! We now have about 27 baby lambs in the barn. They run and jump on each other and are just so cute. The entire farm is getting a huge case of cabin fever. Micah asks regularly to go to the farm with his daddy, I yearn for sitting outside with my family, and the animals all are longing for green grass! Soon all of our dreams will come true – we hope!
Who else is longing for spring? What plans do you have in the works for this summer? I know I have lots to do this summer, and I can’t wait to get started! Please feel free to comment and share what you’re excited to do this summer!
HI friends. Welcome to 2015. As I sit and sip my coffee, (Land of a Thousand Hills rocks!!) watch my lil man play with his toy animals, my littlest taking his mid day nap, and enjoy a slow morning I am enjoying a moment of reflection on the past year and anticipation for the year ahead. Care to join me in some reflection? Ok
The past year was a fun one. In January we started our house project of building a master bedroom out of a third of our giant living room/dining room/den/office. We knew with a new baby on the way we needed another bedroom. Construction began on January 1st and finished sometime in March? February was our annual conference in State College. Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is a wonderful organization that we are proud members of. Organic food is great and Local even better but it’s important to add in SUSTAINABLE. That’s the hinging point. We couldn’t get GMO free feed for years because it was unsustainable for us to do so because of how much we’d have to increase our prices. God has blessed us with a local place now to get some GMO free ingredients and the rest are being brought in from Virginia. That was my first time leaving my Micah man with my parents for more than a day. It was tough for me to leave him for the weekend but he had fun and I survived. March we finished our bedroom (I think that’s when we did it!) and continued preparing for the spring ahead. April was filled with slow spring activities and getting acclimated to our newest intern Glenn. He was a little rough around the edges when he arrived. We are preparing to have him leave this weekend (Jan 3rd) and I’m sad to see him go. He and our other intern Billy became like family to us. May was fun. Patrick was born in May and we officially became a family of 4. June brought in visits from friends from Ohio and family from Mexico. July Micah turned 2 and we celebrated at my parents house. August was a blur. September Pete and I celebrated 3years of marriage with a weekend trip to Erie PA. In October Patrick got his first 2 teeth! November was a whirlwind of traveling to Ohio to see friends, to my parents and NY for Thanksgiving and kicking into Pennsylvania Deer Season. (We process deer as a side business) That carried us into December. December was fun with family coming home from Mexico for Christmas and traveling to spend some time with my folks in SouthWestern PA. Wow. That was a lot of happenings.
That doesn’t take into account the hundreds of cinnamon rolls, loaves of bread and rolls I baked for farmers markets, the 20 some lambs born this spring, the 5,000 chickens we processed this year, the 150 turkeys done this year, the beef and the hogs too! Four farmers markets and our Pittsburgh deliveries made it a busy year. It had its hard points when we wondered if this really was where God wanted us to be and if we were doing it right. But friend I can tell you with all of my being that God is faithful. When you commit whatever you do to Him He will take care of the rest. It may not look like what you thought it would but it will be what He intended all along. We love what we do and we know that it’s what we’re supposed to be doing… but there are days we struggle. Farming is so very hard work, and finances get so tight. But God provides and is faithful. And I thank you- our customers and friends- for your continued patronage and friendship.
2015 looks to be fun too! We have some new ideas on the horizon to help ease the initial start-up costs of the year. More lambs will be born this year so be ready for more lamb available. We start taking orders for Beef by the side now and orders for pork too. We plan to expand /revamp our Buying Club locations/times this year to increase our reach there. We’re planning on again offering 2 positions for interns for the 2015 season. (If interested please submit a resume to pete@BurnsHeritageFarm.com after reading our requirements on our website) Something that I am personally SO SO SO SO SUPER DUPER excited for is a Cow Share Program this year with Raw Jersey Milk! (Again if interested in more information please email tara@BurnsHeritageFarm.com) I can’t wait to have my own cow again and make ice cream and butter and cheese…. Yum. Up until a few months ago my boys only had ever drank raw milk here at home. I’d like to get back to that and keep it that way. I plan to continue my baking business and increase more in the homemade craft items as the opportunity arises.
Well that’s all I have today friends. I praise the Lord for all the blessings He has bestowed on me this past year. The friendships that are blooming at Center Hill Community Church and the growth and development in my little boys is astounding. I am so excited to see what changes happen in them this year. God is so good.
Till next time.