Thursday, August 10, 2017

Remote Living: Food, Don't Take Mother Nature For Granted

The biggest lesson I have learned from increasing our reliance on personal food production is:  “Don't expect last year's harvest to repeat.” Maybe Mother Nature has a sense of humor.  She certainly throws some curve balls.  Because each season's harvest varies, I am learning observation and humility, and rebounding with a range of preservation techniques and alternative crops and recipes for when X or Y disappoints.  Below is a summary of this year's results with birch sap, honey bees, chickens, berries, vegetables, and herbs.   High points:  raspberry mead, nasturtium pesto, and naturalized cilantro. Oh, and moose didn't linger to devastate the berry bushes and apple trees.  Low points: birch sap and a rainy July.
An 8 foot tall swarm of honey bees

BIRCH SAP:  We were TOTALLY SKUNKED on birch sap collection, which absolutely blindsided us since the prior three years had been so easy and successful. In fact, we nearly doubled the number of tapped trees in anticipation (from 30 to nearly 55) and finished off the remaining sap and syrup from the prior year. The desultory drips and measly harvest result, I learned, from meager diurnal temperature differentiation.  Ah, yes, that.    Heard and noted.  So no syrup this year (need to reduce 100 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup).  We made twenty gallons of beer with the sap, which was fine, but this year's carboy of birch sap wine tastes watery.  Darn.