We hadn’t visited Kline Creek farm in a while, so given it is lambing season and the weather was warming up, it seemed like as good of a time as any to head over to the farm.
As always there is something going on at Kline Creek. We started with a visit to the bee keeper to see what he was up to. The Kline Creek bee keeper is 94 years old and has been keeping bee’s for 40 years. We learnt a lot about why you should only buy locally produced honey and eventually diversed into some second world war stories. A really nice man who gets to keep bees at Kline Creek on condition that the farm can sell any honey he produces. After a close call with death in France during the war, he said he felt he had to give something back. Well certainly my kids are better for chatting with him!
On getting to the farm the first thing we noticed was that the chickens were loose! They had been allowed some free range from their coup. After being stuck in there all winter, they probably welcomed the chance to stretch their legs, they didn’t wonder far and were remarkably approachable.
After a look around the barns we headed over to see what was happening in the lambing barn.
On getting to the lambing barn we were surprised by how big the lambs were already. It turned out that they began birthing in January! Much earlier than we expected. Still there was much cuteness to be had, plenty of hungry lambs and we learnt why the lambs tails are docked. That lead to the boys getting to hold some docked lambs tails. Nothing like a severed body part to cement a lesson in young minds!
The farm really was a hive of activity, everyone just glad to be out in the nice weather after winter, so the next stop was the blacksmith, fire is always a favorite especially when it being used to hand forge an iron snake!
The last stop was to check out how maple syrup is made. We probably all learnt the most from this demonstration. Did you know that in the winter sap is stored underground in tree roots. Come spring when the tree thinks it is getting warm, it pumps the sap back up into the tree as leaf growth begins, but then it gets cold at night again, so back down it goes. This is optimal for draining the sap into buckets hanging off the sugar maples. Once you have gathered about 40gallons of sap (approx. one gallon a day is drained from the tree depending on the weather), you can boil it down to remove the 97% water to leave the sugar. Those 40gallons should yield about 1 cup of maple syrup! We learnt the difference between cheap maple syrup and expensive maple syrup also. It became obvious why pure maple syrup is so expensive…it is incredibly hard to harvest.
The kids got to try tapping a tree with a cordless variable speed drill and hammer in the tap.
That was it for the day, we had a quick look at the smoke house which we learnt was the oldest building on the property at almost 200 years! The seeds were sown for another good year on the farm!