Saturday Shawn and the boys got a day in the woods. Lumber for the new addition to the barn will come off the south and west hills; right now they are cutting in the clearing, letting sun in on what, hopefully, will be several days’ of rotational grazing when the grass is better established. They took out an oak over two feet thick, which should mill out to some sturdy beams for the hayloft. These are skidded off the hill by manpower alone, and stockpiled in the beeyard until we are ready to mill. Meanwhile, S3 is drawing up plans for the framework, while S4 drafts the floorplan, making sure his pigs get pride of place.
Monday brought a good thaw. We usually see one in February, and use it as an opportunity to get taps in our biggest maple trees. The boys hung about fifteen buckets, and may put out more when the sap really gets flowing. In past years we have gotten as many as five gallons of maple syrup, which is adequate, but not ample, for a family of ten (nine at home now that S1 is farming his own acres in MN).