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  • Writer's pictureWine & Whiskey

Mud + Mundane = March

March can be snowy, or it can be mud. This year it is mud. While the warmer temps have helped get a jump start on outdoor winter clean-up chores, however, we are confined to the gravel driveway and a very limited perimeter of the property where it is not soaking wet. I drove the Kubota through the back yard once and made a terrible mess. More rain is in the forecast so the situation will not improve. Which leads to the mundane as you can see in this latest video.




Despite the mud I have managed to tackle a few garden items on my list. I aggressively groomed a hydrangea that was planted almost twenty years ago before I even knew anything about gardening or hydrangeas. This was my first time ever pruning it; I think I need to cut it back even further.

This hydrangea is the type where new blooms grow on "new wood". The best time to prune them is late winter and as soon as the snow was gone, I was out there trimming this back.



All my hydrangeas are new wood growth variety, which I like because it makes sense. I have two the "old wood" hydrangea at the cottage and I don't understand them. They look dead until then all of a sudden, they come alive.


I looked forward to trimming the hydrangea because I had a plan for the branches, a dead hedge. Yes, a "dead hedge". This is my new favorite garden element. Two reasons; one, I can build it myself, and two, it creates a place for all of the garden waste I make.



I started with hydrangea clippings at the bottom, then small lilac branches, Christmas tree branches on top of that, followed by grapevine twigs, then finally the large lilac branches. It doesn't look like much right now, but I anticipate that it will be a wood tone background to the wildflowers that will be planted in front.








 

March also means maple sap as it officially Maple Month in New Hampshire. We have been busy continuing our ragtag maple syrup production. Watch it in the video (link above)


Our production is mainly done on the woodstove. It is a slow boil / simmer for hours and hours. This works fine for the amount of sap we are gathering each day which is about 10 - 15 gallons. The sap flow slowed way down when the overnight temperatures was in the high thirties.


Since making the syrup we have been putting in on almost everything. Here are some ways to use it.


Ways to Use Maple Syrup

1.      Top roasted or sauteed veggies.

2.      Add to homemade balsamic vinaigrette and other homemade dressings.

3.      Peanut butter & syrup on toast. 😋

4.      Substitute for sugar in baking: 1c. sugar = 3/4 c. syrup

5.      Maple glaze: 1.5 c. powder sugar + 1/3 c. syrup + 1-2 T. water

6.      Glaze meat or fish.

7.      Add to soups or chilis for a sweet touch.

8.      Flavor & sweeten oatmeal.

9.      Top bacon & sausage.

10.   Sweeten coffee or tea.

11.   Glaze dry-rubbed chicken wings for a sticky finish.

12.   Drizzle over baked brie.

13.   Make maple butter.

14.   Drizzle over plain yogurt and ice cream.

15.   Add to mashed sweet potatoes & squash.

16.   Maple mustard: 1/2 c. Dijon + 1/4 c. syrup.

And so many more ways!


Just a couple more weeks and we'll be closing up our production. We are so happy with the results. We have enjoyed sharing with friends and I've shared with clients and business vendors.


 

On to other mundane things. It's just so brown and grey this time of the year as you can see from this shot where Bell and I are walking near the path along the lake.



While trapped inside for the cold weather we have been working on the old drafty house. The bathroom project is coming along nicely; we had all inspections by the town code officer, so we are on the finishing phase. Very exciting.


This once closet turned chase for heat ducts to the second floor is now a decorative nook. You heard it correctly; this 1850 house now has heat on the second floor. 😳 I adorned the space with quilts that my grammy made.



I painted the front hallway and stairs. It was a bit drab before (left photo). I had used the color of dirt prior because I was lazy. With more energy now, I felt that it needed to be jazzed it up with color and braided rugs. It feels fresh and upbeat.


✔️✔️✔️We are checking things off of our long list.


To liven things up I made a carrot cake and maple flavored ice cream. Well, that was delicious! Mr. Coffee loves sweets, so cake is perfect for coffee breaks and dessert after lunch.

Why are Whiskey and Mr. Coffee still thin?!! 😡It's just not fair.


This is the best carrot cake recipe! It has everything, raisins, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, it's perfection.



It's the little things that make life great. Cake is a good way to enjoy life.



 

We are down to our last row of firewood. That means we'll be in Hilton Head soon.

This way of firewood storage is definitively the best method for us. Once a row is complete the blocks and wood studs go away; at the end of the season the patio is clear and ready for furniture.


As winter weather is now over, we look forward to new garden growth and enjoying life outdoors. Stay tuned for upcoming travel prep and getting things in order as we leave New Hampshire for the month of April.


As always, thank you for reading.


Pictures from our little bubble. This is Wolfeboro Bay and the Town Docks.





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