More Signs Of Spring

I didn’t go to the farm Tuesday because I was busy making soap, but while my husband was out there making maple syrup he called me to let me know that the killdeer had returned. Each year a pair (presumably the same pair) of killdeer set up home on the farm. They never fail to select a fairly high traffic area to build their nest. A couple years it was right on the edge of the driveway, after that it was in the beach area, and last year it was in the prayer garden. Once they build their nest and their lay eggs they treat us as intruders. They run around and screech at us and do their broken wing dance to try to get us out of the area.

Although their behavior can be annoying, I understand where they are coming from. I was also an over protective parent when my kids were young, and there were probably a few people who thought I was annoying. I use to say that I watched them like a hawk, but maybe the phrase watched them like a killdeer would be more appropriate.

There are some benefits to having killdeer on the farm. One of them is that baby killdeer are so darn cute, and it is quite entertaining watching the mother and father try to keep track of three or four babies running all over the place. Killdeer babies are up and out of the nest within about a day or two after being hatched, but the parents tend to them for several weeks until they begin to fly. Another benefit is that unlike robins and many of the other birds who frequent our farm killdeer do not eat berries, they eat bugs and larva. They are a natural insecticide and since we avoid the use of any chemicals on the farm we can use all the help we can get.

Welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Killdeer!

The following pictures were taken in the spring of 2017

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Killdeer sitting on the nest – could be Mom or Dad since they share the responsibility.

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The other parent on watch nearby.

 

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Three of the four babies have hatched.

The other major sign that spring is here is that the maple sap is turning cloudy. My husband noticed this yesterday. When the sap begins to run cloudy instead of clear it is no longer good for making syrup. Tuesday, March 27 was our last day of cooking syrup this year.

We did not keep records of how much sap we collected or how much syrup we actually ended up with, but I’d estimate that we made between 4 and 5 gallons of syrup this year.

I’m seeing lots pancakes and French toast in our future. 🙂

11 thoughts on “More Signs Of Spring

  1. When we first bought our property, all we thought about was having a spot to grow a garden and plenty of space for the kids to run. Now, almost 2 years after purchasing our house and a year after deciding to homestead, we realized that almost all the trees on our property are oak, and that the only maple we own is only 4 ft tall. 😢 I wish we had the opportunity to tap trees for syrup, but unless we can find a kind soul to let us tap their trees if they’re not already, we may need to wait a good long while for that little maple to grow. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In our area many people don’t tap their maple trees probably because it is a lot of work and very time consuming. If your area is the same I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would be willing to work it out so you could tap their trees.
      We continue to plant small maples on our farm to replace dead trees even though we may never see them mature enough to provide sap, we are hopeful that future generations will.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have also seen the return of some killdeer! I love when they come back as it feels like spring might really be here. I did laugh about watching the kids like a killdeer….so true!
    I also learned something new about tapping trees! I didn’t know you had to quit when it started running cloudy. I have always thought it sounded like something interesting to do…..only we have very few sugar maples in our area. We have more of the soft maples and boxelders.

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      1. To be honest I am not sure what the maples are that we have in our grove. I know we have an entire row of them and they are huge. Love your blog! You are doing things that I would love to try but have never quite gotten past the fear of doing LOL. I have had lye in the house for a couple years now and have not quite been able to bring myself to try that first batch of soap.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for your lovely comment. That is exactly why I blog.
        It took me a while to get past the fear of making soap. I did a lot of studying and then bought a kit to make my first batch. It really is not a scary as it seems.
        I have had several readers now comment on wanting to learn to make soap so I think I will put together a post about that. I really think that everyone should learn to make their own soap or at least have a personal soap maker (friend, neighbor or family member).

        It is my understanding that any maple trees will produce maple sap that can be made into syrup. The sugar maples just have the highest sugar content so the sap requires less cooking. Cooking the sap does take a very long time and in our case it is done with wood so it takes a lot of wood and constantly feeding the fire. The good thing about it is that it comes at the time of year when we don’t have a lot of other things going on so it keeps us busy while we wait for spring to arrive. 🙂
        Thanks again and have a blessed day.

        Liked by 1 person

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