Working in the Woods for Sweet Rewards

Hemlock logs, photo by Rollin Tebbetts

Years ago, while talking with my Grandma about our family history, I was struck by how often she would  say “Oh, he worked in the woods in the winter”. Seemed like everyone “worked in the woods” back then.

As an organic farm that depends on diversified crops to sell, we are in the woods as well, logging in the winter and producing maple syrup. Now that sugaring approaches, with warmer days and cold nights, we are thinning out a portion of the maples that we have not tapped in 10 years. By thinning this section of woods, it should give us the option of an extra 400-500 taps to add onto our existing 900 taps. Fortunately, Shane and Christy (Dancing Carrot Farm) are sugaring with me this year as a work exchange and healing-shoulder-help. Robert (Game of Logging tree climber) will be helping as well and hopes to learn the trade.

Sugar House, photo by Rollin Tebbetts

Each spring, sugaring is an endeavor I look forward to, as it heralds an end to the long dark winter and the start of spring. Once started though, with the long work days and sleepless nights boiling, invariably  I can’t wait for it to be over and to start on the other spring work of field preparation, cattle fencing, and vegetable planting.

Mekiah and Harper on top the "sugar stone"

Mekiah and Harper on top the "sugar stone"

This week, as we draw  hitches of maple, ash and yellow birch logs to the landing for a later trip to the sawmill, I ponder whether Under Orion Farm is helping to keep the idea of sustainable agriculture and producing local food, strong. And are we contributing to a vibrant community by helping new farming families?

I believe we are.

Not much snow, but nice just the same.


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