Why Pastured Chicken is Better than Organic [updated]

All natural. Cage free. Hormone free. Free range. No antibiotics. Organic. All these terms and more clutter the labeling for “healthy” chicken and eggs throughout the stores and markets. But what do they really mean? I’ve discussed “organic” meat already (see post here), and discovered that just because something is organic doesn’t necessarily make it perfect. In the end it comes down to the farmers themselves and how they treat their animals. It turns out that some practices are more valuable than others, too. Continue reading “Why Pastured Chicken is Better than Organic [updated]”

how to reduce smoky flavor when boiling sap over an open fire to make maple syrup

6 simple tips to avoid smoky flavor in maple syrup boiled over an open fire

Smoky flavor can sneak into maple syrup boiled over an open fire because the smoke and debris from the fire pass over the sap as it boils.  Even if you enjoy this smokiness, it is actually considered a flaw in syrup and could even be somewhat bad for your health, depending on what you burn with.  There is no smoke flavor in syrup made in a standard evaporator setup because the fire is isolated from the sap and smoke flows out a chimney. But hey, we don’t have a sugarhouse and certainly no chimney for our evaporator setup and yet our syrup is smoke-free!
Continue reading “6 simple tips to avoid smoky flavor in maple syrup boiled over an open fire”

Get Your Master’s Degree in Shoveling Snow

In your undergraduate studies (i.e., our first post about shoveling snow), you learned about the perfect, most efficient way to shovel a standard straight-run driveway: Divide and Conquer. Easy, fast, and obviously genius on the part of me, the inventor. But as neat a method as it is, Divide and Conquer will not always work. Sometimes there is too much snow to move quickly. Sometimes you have to shovel a wide open area that can’t easily be divided. It’s time for your graduate studies. Tuition is free.  Continue reading “Get Your Master’s Degree in Shoveling Snow”

maple tree tapped for sap to make maple syrup

Identifying Maple Trees by Their Bark and Branches in Winter [updated]

We like to plan out the maple tapping around Valentine’s Day.  For anyone new to sugaring on their land, the first step is knowing which trees are good maples for tapping.  If you did not identify them in the Summer when the iconic maple leaves were easy to spot, don’t fret.  It is absolutely possible to ID the maples on your land in winter so you can make your own syrup.

Continue reading “Identifying Maple Trees by Their Bark and Branches in Winter [updated]”

heart shaped carrot slices as an alternative to unhealthy valentine's day candy hearts

Throw away those candy hearts, carrot hearts are the way to show you really love someone

The ingredients in NECCO Sweethearts are as follows: sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, coloring and flavoring.  They’re fun, they’re small, they’re tradition.  But not a good tradition.  Continue reading “Throw away those candy hearts, carrot hearts are the way to show you really love someone”

DIY Maple Syrup Tapping System for under $1 [new infographic updated for 2016]

It’s just about time, folks.  If you live in the northern US/southern Canada and have maple trees on your land and you don’t tap your trees for their magical sap, you are missing out!  Maybe you think the setup is too difficult, or maybe too pricey?  We used to think so too, but turns out it is neither!  Check out our infographic below to see our super simple system that brings us a year’s supply of delicious maple syrup for under $1 per tree.

Continue reading “DIY Maple Syrup Tapping System for under $1 [new infographic updated for 2016]”

free range hens in winter in nh

Why is Raising Chickens Like Swimming in the Ocean?

When we decided we were farmers, something changed in my brain, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. The first step was when we took control of a fraction of our food. Eggs. Suddenly there was one less item on the shopping list. I felt lighter, happier, just thinking of these eggs as they started appearing in our coop. Something we didn’t have to depend on others for. A drop in the bucket, maybe. But it felt like so much more.  Continue reading “Why is Raising Chickens Like Swimming in the Ocean?”

firewood stacked in a round holzhaufen

Wait… are people stealing our ideas on Instagram?

As you may have noticed, we’ve been more actively posting photos and videos to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  We find this to be fun and it helps us to connect to other people who are as obsessed with chickens and good food as we are.  But lately it seems like when we post something, within a few days someone else posts something very similiar.  Are we really that influential?

Continue reading “Wait… are people stealing our ideas on Instagram?”

shoveling snow efficiently with the divide and conquer technique

Shovel your driveway with less effort using our efficient strategy

Plows. Booooo! They make you dependent on someone else’s schedule, they cost a lot of money to hire, and they often leave your driveway with a hard layer of packed snow instead of an actually cleared path. Now you need sand and salt. The cycle never ends! There’s got to be a better way!  Continue reading “Shovel your driveway with less effort using our efficient strategy”

black australorp hen in snow

The Truth About Chickens Wearing Sweaters

During our first winter with chickens, I regularly took readings outside on the coldest days. One morning it was -27° F! Concerned for our hens, I trotted through the icy air to their unheated, uninsulated coop and took a reading inside. -20° F!  I was scared for our hens’ safety.

Continue reading “The Truth About Chickens Wearing Sweaters”