Life on Regal-Hill: March 25, 2009

It has been very spring-like here at Regal-Hill this week. It was supposed to rain tomorrow, but as it turned out we got snow. It snowed until everything was all white, then it stopped and in no time at all most of it had melted. It was what we call a sap snow. Sap snow is very wet and, thankfully, it comes and goes quickly. However, I am sure it will get colder and be back to more winter-like weather with colder temperatures and snowstorms.
The spring-like weather has been nice while it lasted. The sap ran, the sun and wind dried the clothes and bedding, the heifers got to go outside and I had the windows open so I could hear the rooster crow and the robins and red-winged blackbirds sing.
This morning while I was hanging up clothes, several flocks of geese flew over, honking as they went. So I guess we aren’t the only ones thinking spring is here.
It was so nice to sleep between line-dried sheets once again. Although we haven’t had the windows open at night yet, they were open during the day, airing the house that really needed it as well. Of course I had to remember to turn down the thermostats first. There is no sense trying to heat the whole outdoors warmer than it already is. Besides, it saves money to not use the oil when we don’t need to. We are saving on wood since we haven’t had a fire for several days now.
The weather has been great for the sap to run as well. George is still making maple syrup on the stove. He says that the sap is real sweet this year. I haven’t tried it yet.
So you can see we are getting busy here at Regal-Hill. I am sure spring activities are keeping you busy as well. Oh, and I have gotten most of the garden seeds we need this year.
Since we talked about making maple syrup last week, I thought it was time to put some maple syrup recipes in this column. I know they will be sweet but also delicious.

Maple Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash
1 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place cut side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 1/2-inch of hot water. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 12-14 minutes or until crisp tender.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the syrup, raisins, butter, cardamom and allspice; set aside. When squash is cool enough to handle, remove rind and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Drizzle with syrup mixture.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until squash is tender. Serve with a slotted spoon.
Yield: 6 servings
2008 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

“Great Hill” Beans
Soak 2 lbs. navy beans overnight. Next day add enough water to cover and boil for 1/2 hour (until skins crack when you blow on them). Remove to crock pot.
1 large piece of salt pork
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Set crock pot on high for 1 hour and medium low for 2 hours.
Yield: a big pot of baked beans
New Hampshire Maple Recipes