Maple Syrup Workshop

Have you wanted to learn how to make Maple Syrup but were afraid to ask?  You’re not alone!

Maple Syrup - First Jar!

Maple Syrup

I have been making syrup for a few years and have had to learn by trial and error (and some advice from friends more skilled than I).  My friends have agreed to help me operate a Maple Syrup Learning Event to be held at the farm.  I will host a limited group of 8 people and teach you all you need to know to make Maple Syrup the old fashioned way (but I have knowledge of some high tech versions – if you decide

Sap buckets ready for Spring!

Sap buckets ready for Spring!

to go into syrup production commercially.)  Maple Syrup season is short – four to six weeks and this will be a weekend event.  If you are interested in just coming by for the day – let me know – but look below at what you will miss out on!

Arriving Friday night, to a gourmet meal and delightful conversation.  Saturday will start with breakfast, then collecting the syrup and starting the boil.  Finishing off with another gourmet meal and more conversation.  I have a hot tub on the farm and can book a Registered Massage Therapist if you’d like to pamper yourself after all that work!

A Maple Syrup event wouldn’t be complete without a pancake breakfast, which we will celebrate with on Sunday!

You will learn all there is to know about making maple syrup and leave with syrup that you have made.

You can contact me by email or let me know in the comment section below, if you and your friends would like to participate in a fun filled weekend at the farm!

Organic Gardening

Well, it’s been a while….what a crazy busy summer it’s been!

 

I have a new organic garden and because of the delicious foods that we have grown this summer, I’ve decided to share my farm space with people that would enjoy gardening or perhaps don’t have the space to garden. A friend of mine told me that she loves to garden but the soil at her house isn’t rich enough and she doesn’t want to spend the time and effort to enrich it, so she has become my very first customer!

 

So, it will look like this……

 

A garden plot 20’ x 30’ fenced, it has to be fenced or the deer will eat everything. Over the almost 30 years of being on this farm, I have learned that the deer don’t recognize a garden as human space, the deer have the nerve to think you planted those pumpkins just for them!

 

I will provide two rain barrels to make compost tea or just catch rain water.

 

I will have available for purchase top soil, compost soil, and straw.

 

Fall is the perfect time to prepare your garden for spring planting or, if ambitious, fall planting (garlic) for next year’s harvest.

 

I would invite other farm bloggers to encourage neighbours to come out and plant their own gardens. There is something very satisfying about growing your own food and having it come out of the garden and to your plate within minutes.

Cold Process Soap

I couldn’t wait to get home with my new treasures to make Cold Process Polka Dot Soap and a new soap that I am calling Raspberry Kisses.

Polka Dot Soap

It was a lot of fun to make!

Cold Process Soap

Cold Process Soap

I expected this soap to “settle” a little, but it was pretty close to seizing when I got it into the mold.  My peach soap tried to seize also – note to self – watch these two fragrances!

All in all, these soaps were fun to make – along with my Maple Syrup/Honey soap, and it will all be cured in time for the Market Season!

 

 

 

 

Four Types of Homemade Cold Process Soap

I dare to say that I am desperately waiting for the maple syrup season to begin.  I have a new maple syrup evaporator arriving for this season and I’m super excited to get going making maple syrup.  In the meantime, while waiting for the right conditions for maple syrup, I have been entertaining myself with making some soaps.  I started making cold process soap over 15 years ago.  I retired all my equipment about ten years ago, so I got it all out and started looking over my notes.

Well, I got started with a Clementine Buttermilk soap.  This is an old favourite recipe of mine – it never lets me down, although the scent is new for me.  This Clementine buttermilk will be ready in about six weeks.

Clementine Buttermilk Cold Process Soap Winter 2014

Clementine Buttermilk Cold Process Soap Winter 2014

Then I made a Vanilla/Amber and used my homemade vanilla ice cream as the liquid.

The next night, I made a buttermilk recipe again and scented it with Lily of the Valley.   This turned into a very pretty white soap.

Next came a whipping cream base scented with peach, I layered this one so that the bottom half was white, the next layer was gold/yellow and the top was a pink peach tone.  This picture is right out of the mold, first slice, before any trimming is done.  I like to smooth the edges of my soaps – when the soap dries, the edge can be sharp and unpleasant, when trimmed, it rolls in your hands.  Sometimes I cut these down into travel size bars, that way you can take your favourite soap with you when you travel and not feel bad about leaving a bit behind.  The travel size is also wonderful in a guest bathroom – you can change it out after your company leaves!  And use it seasonally, Christmas Soaps at Christmas etc. – this Springtime Peach is wonderful….when?  Springtime, of course!

Cold Process Springtime Peach Soap

Cold Process Springtime Peach Soap

 

Nanaimo bar soap was next and I scented this with Creme Brulee, Nanaimo bars have kind of custard smell, so I thought Creme Brulee worked well. I think Nanaimo bars, a favourite dessert, might be known as a Canadian treat.  I’ve never seen it in my travels outside of Canada.  Because of the layering and scenting, it was a fun soap to challenge!

This week, Dara Howell proved herself to be the best in the world when she won the Gold Medal at the Olympics in Slopestyle Skiing.  It was an amazing accomplishment and one would have a better chance of winning a lottery than to win a gold medal at the Olympics!  Our whole town is proud of Dara Howell and her accomplishment.  Personally, it made me want to do something very “Canadian”, so I made a Maple and Honey soap!  I used honey from my own farm and maple syrup that I processed last year here on the farm.  It’s layered soap – honey on the bottom and maple on the top.  This picture shows what a cold process soap looks like in the mold.  I’m pretty excited about this one and expect it to do very well at the Farmers’ Markets this summer!

Maple and Honey Cold Process Soap

Maple and Honey Cold Process Soap

So, I know I titled this four types of cold process soap, but included six.  If you would like the recipes I used, comment below, if you would like a custom soap made, comment below and I will work with you on that.  And if you would just like to share your story, comment below!