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maple breeze farm

saplines barrel-2990

The steady flow of sap in March, triggered by the day/night rhythm of temperatures moving above and below freezing, is a sure sign of Spring in the north country. The apparatus used for sap collection include the taps (inserted into the trees), the tubing (through which the sap flows – by gravity), and the collection barrel (partially visible behind the trees). The collected sap is then carted off to an evaporator, where it boils down to – voila! – maple syrup.

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saplines5-2812

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saplines2-2831

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Sap Line, Westbrook, CT

March 8, 2015

saplines3-2773

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Sap Lines, Westbrook, CT

March 8, 2015

saplines4-2881

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Old Farmhouse, Westbrook, CT

February 19, 2015

old home-2516

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Farm Chores, Westbrook, CT

February 18, 2015

farm chores-2542

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down on the farm-2438

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remains of the day-2293

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home-2276

See post below. This is where the cattle spend the night. They come in one at a time to the immediate left of where I was standing, and go directly to their respective stanchions, actually inserting their heads into the device, at which time John or Bonnie or a hired hand move the lever on the left clockwise to lock them in place. Notice the bedding (lighter) and the feed (darker), and the automated manure removal system. The temperature is probably in the mid 50’s when they come in, and warmer in the morning from all the body heat.

John and I talked about the cattle; he has literally spent all his life with this breed. The one story that I’ve been trying to wrap my head around was in answer to my question about coyotes – whether they ever bother the smaller ones. He said one morning a few years ago, he came into a pasture where about twenty cattle had spent the night, and saw them in a wide circle, heads facing out. It turns out a calf was born in their midst earlier that night, and with hungry coyotes on the scene, the herd had surrounded both mother and calf to protect them.

We are slowly moving towards a deeper understanding of plant and animal intelligence; the recent book “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, will nudge us even further along. She is a Native American botanist who considers plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. It’s a remarkable read, bridging as it does the worlds of myth and science, and as my friend Mike Hamer (who recommended it) said, ” it will bring a few tears to your eyes..”

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