Tag Archives: Birch Syrup

All Thumbs and Two Left Feet

Well it’s been awhile since I posted but I promise you it is not because I have been idle!  Let me tell you how I discovered I am all thumbs.  

Computers are supposed to be easy right? They are supposed to make your life simpler, correct? Well I am living proof that someone lied!   I’ll start at the beginning of the discovery. I was attempting to do a simple logo design for my farm products. Nothing fancy just a couple of squiggly lines, a dot and some lettering. Easy, right? Should only take 5 minutes poof I will be done and move on to something more exciting. Well guess what…..It is not that easy, it took longer than 5 minutes and once it was done (3 days later) the computer in all its glory, grandeur and wisdom….ate it! Now keep in mind that this simple 5 minute project has consumed 3 days which is about 26 hours, 5 tanks of fuel in the generator, 15 pots of coffee and 10 pounds of chocolate (to keep me motivated) and my last nerve. All of this so the computer could eat it!  Poof it’s gone….into the rabbit hole….or never land or wherever computer stuff goes. Luckily I was able to retrieve it after I calmed down enough to actually think. You see it is not that I’m computer illiterate as I actually used to use them daily but it appears lack of using that part of my brain has caused a memory loss when it comes to anything electronic. The story isn’t over yet though, as I still have the website to complete but I want to show you the logo, on the label which is now on the first bottle of Birch Syrup created right here at Two Moose Farm! 

   The story goes on……Now not a newbie to website building I thought hey!!!! I got this! I have done it many times before right!  For the sake of time let me tell you things in the electronic world have changed A LOT in the last few years. Those days of simple file systems are long gone. I quickly discovered that little bit of info when I attempted to place my logo file of abc into a program that will accept most files except the one my logo was in. It’s day 3 on it and although it’s online I am far from finished. You can see it at http://www.offgridalaska.net   I’ll get it done but for now if your interested in ordering then shoot me an email at early@offgridalaska.net and I’ll get you fixed up. 

All that computer stuff makes me cranky so I decided some outdoor time was much needed. It does the body good to be outside in the fresh air right? Okay usually! I discovered my two left feet when watering the greenhouse that sits on the turkey pen. Yep it’s only 6 foot off the ground and dear hubby even built me a walk way so I could water and care for my little seedling babies without much effort-ha ha you would think after 25 years he would know me better than that!  Apparently when you have this condition of two left feet even the simplest navigations become dangerous. Climb the step, stand on the walkway and oh dear the farthest back plants aren’t getting enough water so put one knee inside the greenhouse hook toes into the now wet walkway for stability and reach out as far as you can with watering can full of water then poof!  Falling, slipping, sliding but oh can’t put my hands down to stop the fall as I might squish the little plants-when the motion finally stopped I was upside down one booted foot caught on the edge of the greenhouse, the other boot less foot stuck in between the boards of the walk way my water pitcher still in one hand and the other hand dangling there like it was a cheerleader surrounded by the curious chickens and turkeys when who shows up to console me???? Oh Henry the billy goat! I’m sure he thought “See momma it’s not hard to get into trouble”. Now mind you other than critters there is no one else close enough to holler at for assistance so here I am looking like a four legged spider caught in its own web, hanging upside down and caught in several places. Thank heavens I could touch the ground and was able to drop the watering can (why I was still holding it I cannot explain as even I don’t know) then push myself up enough to unhook the two left feet then gracefully-yes I said gracefully it’s my story, removed myself from my predicament. Bumps, bruises and a few splinters later I’m still in one piece so I will continue to move forward!

I promise the website will be fully functional soon and I hope you all will take a look. Have a blessed day all.

Birch trees, baby goats and 3 seasons in a day.

you can definitely tell by our crazy weather that it’s Alaska! In the last 48 hours we have experience over 2.5 inches of rain followed by 3 inches of snow.  The sun did come out yesterday afternoon and that coupled with the wind melted the snow very quickly. It is now 2:00 a.m. 38 degrees and snowing once again! 


The Birch trees finally began running yesterday. Not full out running but a slow trickle so the race is now on! We will have 10 days or so of a routine that consists of gathering then slowly cooking the sap down for syrup. Yes this is a 24 hour a day job as the sap that is gathered must be cooked down and bottled to make room for more. 


We are still waiting for the last goat to kid but Bandit doesn’t appear to be in any hurry. The big question is how many will she have? So far this year we have had 3 single births and 2 sets of twins from 5 does. We will keep the doelings (so far there are 4) and the bucklings will most likely become wethers and find new homes.  

      Sorry for the bad pics but snow rain and overly friendly goats wanting attention doesn’t make ideal photo sessions!

The names of our new kids are quite varied. Each one is named randomly and the big white boy pictured above is Olaf. Named after the movie Frozen my kids so desperately want to see. Hoping to make that happen soon!

Well time to stoke the fire and stir the syrup. I’ll leave you for now but pray blessings of plenty upon you all!

Spring? Let’s hope!

What a difference a few days make. It’s a beautiful sunny 36 degrees and much happening on Two Moose Farm.

Chicks in the brooder almost completely feathered out and have removed all auxiliary heat from them.

The non electric kerosene brooder is a success and will have plans available soon if anyone wants to build one.
The incubator is full and so far is holding right at 100 degrees but will not know until hatching if it is a success.

Pigs growing like crazy and unfortunately Charlotte is showing signs of being in heat again. That will mean almost 4 months until she farrows if she takes this time. Have about 50 more pounds to put on the 2 I want to butcher so looking at about 3-4 weeks of finishing on them. They grow so much slower on a diet with no corn but the taste will make up for it.



Still using every free moment to whittle taps for the birch tap that is coming soon. With the warmer weather I will do a few test taps to see if the run is coming. The 3 weeks of the run will be very busy here for sure.
Goats are doing well and had a friend out to visit. She had her first lesson in goat milking today!

One last thing I want to share is this book on straw bale gardening. My friend Cathy sent this to me and it’s a wealth of information. The book is published by Cool Springs Press and is called Straw Bale Gardens Joel Karsten is the author.

Time to get busy once again so I bid you all good day and pray your blessings be bountiful.

Crazy, Busy, Life

IMG_3039Today was definitely one of those crazy days where I met myself coming and going.  The arrival of baby chicks at 6:30 a.m. means rising at least an hour earlier in order to be ready and get out to the truck to get to town and pick them up.  This is our fourth attempt and sadly I must report every one of the Barred Rock pullets arrived dead but the 25 assorted chicks 22 of those survived and are quite healthy.  I called the poultry producer immediately and was assured they would look into it and would make good on them.  Truly I have no fear that Ideal poultry won’t make good as they always do and the company has impeccable customer service but as I stated to them there may be something that requires a further investigation.  I am however very happy with the chicks that survived as the came out of the box on a run and went right to eating and drinking.

IMG_3035 The non electric brooder is working well and praying the chicks continue to thrive.

After getting the chicks settled in I began making taps for the upcoming birch sap run.  They are not difficult to make just time-consuming.  After gathering he willows (dear hubby did this for me) I cut them in 5 inch sections beveling one end. They are then stripped of the bark and a hole drilled through them.  Not much to it but when it takes 30 minutes to carefully do this so as not to drill through the side making 50 of them seems like a daunting task.  I completed 4 today before I had to quit and get chores started again.

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Many may question why I am making my taps when they can be ordered for a few dollars each but multiply that few dollars by 50 it adds up quickly.   There is a certain satisfaction from doing things old school.  After all there are very few people in this fast paced world who want to bother with making birch syrup as it takes at least 50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup but once you taste it you will see why it is so special and if I am going to spend that much energy collecting organic sap to make organic syrup I don’t think I want to use plastic taps made from petroleum products to gather the sap with. I  am teaching my children the old ways, before our world became a disposable society.  Preserving these ways for future generations is an important part of history I want to keep alive.  My kids helped with the first taps today and will be a part of each step from tapping the trees, gathering the sap, cooking down and bottling.

Hope you all are living your dreams and pray that you are blessed beyond measure.

Winter is coming for a short visit and Oh Henry lives up to his name

Finally winter is coming for a visit but doesn’t look like it will be staying long.  Currently we have about 1/2 inch of snow on the ground and 22 degrees but by Sunday they say the temps will be in the single digits at night and high teens in the day.  Next week we’re supposed to warm up again though so will enjoy the change for a bit.

This week has been filled with a lot of ups and downs.  We received chicks from Ideal and thought everything was fine until around day 4 and they started dropping like flies.  It makes me sad to see little creatures dying and feeling helpless I called IDEAL Poultry to discuss the matter.  In their opinion the chicks must have gotten chilled in transport then warmed again.  This basically destroys their internal organs so they are once again shipping replacements and with 50 instead of 25 plus adding heat packs. I will tell you I have never dealt with a company with such great customer service. I strongly urge you to patronize them if you’re in need of poultry.

Our brooder was wearing me out with constantly having to keep an eye out for temperature fluctuations so I designed a new one and my dear hubby and I built it.  I am happy to say its day 2 and I have nervously checked the temp at least 500 times and its spot on!  The remaining chicks are very happy in it and the 50 due to arrive tomorrow will too I am sure.

It’s really a very simple design.  Build a box 3 foot square 9″ high and for the bottom attach a metal plate (we used old highway signs I picked up at the dump the other day  (when I hauled them in posts and all hubby was questioning it but ha! they were useful!!!) Attach leg to sides,  then add boards around the bottom to hold heat in from below that is supplied with an oil lamp, add a cover that will keep the heat contained then put 1/2 inch to 1 inch of sawdust down to disperse heat and cover with either straw or hay.  It is currently a toasty 95 in the middle and 80 on the sides.  To raise or lower temp you just raise or lower the lamp.  Not a difficult thing to do and non electric.  Sure beats having to maintain a brooder very 2 hours with my first design.

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Once again  Oh Henry was up to his curious (or is it obnoxious) self and found himself in yet another predicament. He managed to get himself stuck AROUND and IN a bucket.  His curiosity will be the end of him one day. Thank goodness he is calm when he gets himself into the predicaments and comes to us to get him out.

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Of course this week was especially busy for Henry.  He decided that going into the outhouse, getting the toilet paper and decorating the entire front yard would be a great idea.  Of course when I yelled “Oh Henry” he dropped the roll and before I could get my phone that was in the cabin, He ate all the evidence!  His newest trick is to on the rabbit cages so the rabbits can get out and then somehow he folds himself into the cages and eats all the food. I really must find some goat proof latches.

Daylight hours are growing and so is the workload.  Hoping to get caught up on my crochet orders over the next few days while its cold outside. After this mini cold snap I will begin getting ready for birch tapping and cooking syrup down so if your interested in Birch syrup message me and get your order in early as I am sure it will go fast.  This syrup will not have any fillers as thickeners in it.  It will be 100% organic condensed Birch syrup.  If you have never had Birch syrup on your pancakes you will find it is amazing!!!

Spring will be here before you know it and its hard to believe in just 2 months we will be celebrating our first anniversary here on Two Moose Farm.  Its been a busy year and I pray God continues to bless us all with good health and guide us on our path to total self-sufficiency.  May you all be blessed  in your endeavors.