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    Benedict Family 2014

    This winter was the first time in a couple of years that all of David’s family was in Michigan. And it was the first Christmas we had with our sweet little nephew and niece! Even though we were home for only a short while, we were able to squeeze in a family photo.


    Benedict Family Winter 2014


    We took the photo New Years Eve Day (Dad’s birthday!) and it was freezing outside. Our friend Deanna Clark braved the cold with us and did an amazing job. It was probably one of the quickest photo sessions ever! The farm has so many interesting areas for pictures. I love that our photographer incorporated sap buckets since the family produces maple syrup.

    We’re so thankful for the time we spend with family!



    Cleaning Maple Lines and Buckets

    We helped out with some of the maple farm work this week. Over the past couple of years, David’s family has been converting their different woods to a tubing system.

    First, we went out to one of the woods to clean the sap lines. After we turned on the vacuum pump, we followed the tubes. Sam had a sprayer tank filled with warm water to squirt through the lines.


    Maple line cleaner


    David pulled spiles and I followed behind and dipped the lines into a bucket of warm water.


    Cleaning maple lines


    We did our best to avoid the poison ivy and oak. David’s brother Ben gave me polkadot rain boots one Christmas. They’re my walking in the woods footwear.


    Maple Bucket and boots


    I often borrow a pair of my mother-in-law’s overalls. Farmer David and Leah reporting for duty!


    In the maple woods


    David peeked into a rundown building on the property and found an arch for an old evaporator:


    Abandoned evaporator


    Once we finished in the woods, we came back to the house to clean buckets and lids. Even though the tubing system increases production, they will always tap some trees the traditional way with buckets. This is the machine they use to clean the buckets. It’s connected to a pulley that rotates the brushes:


    Bucket cleaner machine


    We washed about 1,000 buckets and lids. Water splashed everywhere! One person used the machine to clean the inside and bottom of the buckets. Next, they passed the bucket to another person to rinse the outside and inside.


    Washing maple buckets


    Then a runner stacked the buckets and lids so they could dry. We created a bucket barricade:


    Drying maple buckets


    So, so many buckets!


    Maple Buckets


    It was a long afternoon of hard work, but it felt good to be back on the farm.


    Sunset on the farm