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Thank you for a great 2022!

The first day of 2023 is a busy day here on the farm. We’re setting traps for fox, insulating part of the syrup shack, and of course giving Peter and Kaley some pets. But before we get to work, we’re going to recap the blogs from 2022 with lots of pictures.

“Adding to the Flock” was the first blog of 2022. Grey Dog Maple Farm has been raising egg laying hens for some time. This past spring we decided to add more to our flock. If you look closely, you can see Fluster, one of our roosters in this picture. It’s amazing how fast they grow.

Gardening is very important to the Farm. We eat what we grow so it’s important to have good dirt. “The Smell of Fresh Earth” detailed how we use fertilizer from our animals to help grow food for our family. Composting can be a great way to save money and the dirt you make can’t be beat. If you have a garden, you should definitely have a compost pile.

When I wrote “Sweet Memories,” it was a chance to show off where I started with syrup. Most people don’t jump into making syrup with a shack, evaporator and all of the other “toys” that go with it. I was no different. The process is the same, boil sap down to syrup, and it shows that anyone can try this with minimum investment. If you’re thinking about making syrup, this is a great blog for ideas to help you get started.

I love cast iron cookware. They’re one of those things that can truly last forever if you properly take care of them. “Farm Pans” is a great introduction to cast iron cookware and shares one of my favorite ways to season a pan. If you’re not using cast iron cookware, give this blog a read and find out why you should be.

2022 was the year Peter and Kaley came to live at Grey Dog Maple Farm. “A Growing Farm” was their introduction and even included a little bit about my first goat, Ozzy. Goats have personality and you can see that in their pictures. They were so tiny here. This blog also gave an update on our hens we purchased back in “Adding to the Flock.” By this time, we had learned one of the hens was actually a rooster. Fluster was already leading the younger birds.

We’re lucky to have property with bountiful wild berries. “Summer Foraging” and the follow up “Wild Berry Jam,” gave readers an opportunity to tag along with us as we picked the different types of berries and made delicious homemade jam with them. This recipe works with most berries, wild or not. Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for a simple, homemade jam.

When I wrote, “Homestead Gold,” the price of store bought eggs was still reasonable. Since this blog, we’ve seen that price skyrocket. It’s safe to say that egg laying hens continue to be a great investment for just about anyone who can legally raise them. Prices will continue to climb. Now may be the time to invest in your own birds.

“Willow Trees and Goats” had a little bit of history mixed in with more pictures of Peter and Kaley. This may have been where you learned that Aspirin was derived from Willow bark or that in the past and still in some places today, Willow branches are cut, roped, and stored as feed for goats. Peter and Kaley love this safe treat. If you have access to Willow, your goats will love them too.

Our dog, Smoke, was the header picture for “Wild Apples.” I’m not sure why he likes them, but that crazy dog loves wild apples. Many people are afraid to eat wild apples because they think every bite will lead to a worm. It is definitely possible, but I’ve been eating and using wild apples in recipes for years and have yet to bite a worm. This blog gives some good tips for using this amazing free food. Before chomping into a wild apple, it’s a good idea to give it a read.

Hunting is an important part of the lifestyle here on the farm. We garden because we eat what we what we grow and we hunt because we eat what we kill. “Venison Medallions” highlights an easy recipe and uses some of the cast iron from “Farm Pans” to make a delicious meal. With only five ingredients, anyone can make this recipe.

Running electricity to an outbuilding can be expensive. One way to cut those costs can be using solar lighting instead. “Chicken Coop Solar Light Install” is a step by step guide to installing an effective solar powered option. With just a few tools and the steps listed here, even a novice can bring light to a place where no other option may be available.

Faster is one of our more popular hens and in “Jail Break,” I was able recall the time she disappeared for a few scary nights. We take great care to keep our animals safe and happy but she ended up having a good reason for taking her unannounced vacation. This blog also included instructions on how to clip flight feathers. Thankfully, all of our birds have since remained safe in their coop and pasture.

The name Grey Dog Maple Farm was chosen towards the end of my first dog’s life as a way to always remember him. His name was Dale and he played a huge role in my life. “Farm Dogs” was a chance for me to share some of those memories and pictures with you. Without Dale, there probably wouldn’t have been a Grey Dog Maple Farm. Now that Dale is gone, Smoke has taken over the mantle as farm dog. He keeps our boys and animals safe and does a great job picking up where Dale left off.

“Priscilla the Rooster” is all about our old man in the coop. He rules with an iron fist and keeps his ladies safe, but we didn’t always know that Priscilla was a boy. If you’re ever at the farm, take the time to meet him. Just be careful, he’s good at his job. Chickens are a big part of the farm so I followed this blog up with “The ISA Brown.”

A trip to the local supermarket will have just about anyone believing that all produce comes perfectly shaped and colored. “Imperfect Foods” shows that a weird potato, an odd cucumber or even a split tomato is perfectly fine to eat. As homesteaders we strive to waste little. Eating vegetables that look different is a part of that philosophy.

As deer seasoned kicked off, I thought it was a good time to talk about some of the deer stands here at Grey Dog Maple Farm. From tree stands to elevated enclosed blinds, we covered them all in “Deer Stands.” This year saw two different bucks taken from our property, in part because of the stands in this blog.

This past year seen a few blogs that touched on the importance of composting. “Falls Work” revisited this during a time of the year that many people aren’t thinking about it. So many people burn their leaves or bag them up and ship them off. Leaves are such and easy and important part of the compost pile that I wanted to remind everyone of this often missed opportunity.

To achieve good maple sap production, your trees need ample sunlight. Having too many trees, too close together, can create unnecessary completion. “Maintaining Maple Woods” documented the removal of a Black Cherry tree and showed the results it has on the surrounding Maple trees. We had some help from Uncle Eric that day, who you can see in many of the pictures.

Sap season is a few months away from December, but it was already on my mind. “Drop Lines and Sap Buckets” is a beginner’s course to collecting sap via this method. Bucket collection is the easiest and most economical way to get started in making syrup. This blog is a great read for anyone who’s just getting involved.

“Cold Chickens & Winter Eggs” is something that every chicken owner should read. Chickens naturally slow down egg production in the winter. There is variety of ways to help decrease that slow down and this blog gives plenty of tips to help. Our girls are still producing in January, albeit less a week than when it was warmer out.

Anyone who’s been around goats at Christmas time is familiar with the idea that they can eat Christmas trees. Many don’t understand the dangers of feeding their goats any ole tree though. In “Christmas trees and goats,” I break down the questions you should ask your tree supplier and give tips on what trees should be used. Is today’s world, you have to be careful.

2023 is officially here and Grey Dog Maple Farm can’t wait to see what this year brings. We appreciate all of our support. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you. Whether you’re reading and sharing our blogs, following us online or buying merch from our websites store, it all helps us keep this dream going. Thank you and happy New Year.

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