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Life on the Farm
Posted 3/2/2015 5:31pm by The Webb Family.

It has been a long and cold winter to say the least. The days are getting longer and the sunshine feels a little warmer. Sugaring season is just around the corner. We are tapped out in our sugarbush, just waiting for Mother Nature to cooperate!

Every year, usually in late February, we start looking for the change in the weather.  We are looking for warm, sunny days with cold, below freezing nights.  These warm days, about 40 degrees, unthaw the trees enough to allow sap to flow up into the crowns of the trees.  This sap flow is the start of the growing season for a tree, and the sap contains the minerals and nutrients needed to give the tree energy to make leaves.

We try to be ready for these days well in advance so we don’t miss any of these “runs.” A run is when the days are warm, and the sap is flowing in the trees.  A run is any gatherable amount of sap, usually a minimum of 250 gallons, that we can then boil down to make syrup. 

Our preparations for the season can take some time, depending on how Mother Nature has treated us over the winter. We check to make sure that our tubing is stretched tight from tree to tree.  We take the time to get all of the fallen limbs off the tubing and repair any damage that may have been done by squirrels during the year. Those critters love to get some remaining sweetness out of the tubing.

The next step is to start tapping. This step usually takes about three to five days. This depends on how deep the snow is and how much time we can put towards it. If conditions are just right, we can drill about 40-50 taps an hour. We use an 18V drill to tap at a depth of only about 1.5 to 2 inches into the tree. Then we insert the spout and “tap” it with a hammer until it is seated snugly into the tree. If you pound the spout too far into the tree, there is a chance to split the hole. That split would cause the sap to leak out around the spout, losing this precious liquid. We like to avoid that at all costs!

We always debate on when the best time is to start tapping. The timing truly is a guessing game and changes every year. This year, Tyler started tapping our trees on February 22nd and finished up on March 2nd. All 1,300 taps on around 12 acres are ready for mother nature to get the sap flowing.

  

Our first run is always exciting. The warm days will feel great after a cold winter, especially this year. We also get to spend a lot of time in the woods chasing leaks in the tubing. It’s fun running around on snowshoes to watch sap flow through the tubing. It's also a great exercise plan for us and our one year old labrador retriever.

Then, a few hours later, we will be making steam and waiting for our first sweet taste of maple syrup for the season. Stay tuned for updates as the weather turns...

A big Thanks to Paul Howe Photography for some great photos. We even made the front page of the Eagle Times!

Posted 2/2/2015 5:55pm by The Webb Family.

Greetings from everyone at Harding Hill Farm,

We hope the winter weather is treating everyone fairly! It’s always fun to enjoy the winter trails in Webb Forest on our off time, whether it is skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing or walking with the dogs. We certainly hope to be a bit more on task with monthly updates in the future, and you can expect the potential for brief weekly updates during maple sugaring season. 


Grass Fed Beef Update...

We recently picked up about 1,000 pounds of beef from our butcher! We have all cuts available in our freezers. Please contact us by email to request a Winter 2015 price list or to place an order. We will set up a convenient time for you to pick up your order at the farm.

Winter Warmer Package - a great way to buy our meat this time of year for a discounted price! The package includes 6 pounds of hamburger, 3 pounds of stew meat, and your choice of roast for a total price of $65.

IT’S BACK! For those of you that have tried our delicious beef sausage, we have our sweet Italian sausage available! We also have limited quantities of our NEW mildly hot Italian sausage. 


An Update from the Woods...

The cold January allowed sufficient frozen ground to work effectively in the woods on our current timber harvest in Wilmot, NH. With February upon us, it is crunch time for logging. Believe it or not, warm temperatures and mud are right around the corner.

Our timber harvest site this winter is a wood lot Van and Tyler cut 11 years ago, and we are back again to do another thinning. This wood lot has a lot of mature hemlock and pine which we are removing to allow more light and space for the younger trees to come in.  It has been a fun harvest so far, and we hope to finish up the project by mid-March.

For more on our winter project, visit our website for the recent blog post – www.hardinghillfarmnh.com/blog/a-walk-in-the-woods


 Maple Season is Coming...

Mild temperatures in December allowed us to prepare our sugar orchard for the upcoming maple sugaring season. It was time to replace the drop lines in our orchard. 

The drop line is the piece of our tubing system that goes from the conducting pipeline to each individual tree. It also contains the spout which is inserted into the hole that we drill into the tree when we tap. We replace the drop lines every three to five years to keep our system fresh and clean. Research has proven that, even though we clean the tubing every year after the season, drop replacement every few years helps to maintain an optimal sap yield.

Check the website for a blog post coming soon!

With spring around the corner, we are watching the long range forecast diligently to predict when to start tapping for sugaring season. We will send out updates as the season gets closer. We hope to be boiling by March 1st!


March is Maple Month in New Hampshire!

We will be participating in the NH Maple Month this year, which is sponsored by the NH Maple Producers’ Association. Weather permitting, we will be open every weekend in March and the first weekend in April. Weekend events include tours along with samples of our hot, fresh maple syrup.

NH Maple Weekend on March 28th and 29th - mark your calendars to join us for this annual celebration. We will provide more details as this event approaches.

NEW this year - Along with our maple syrup, we will also have HHF grass fed beef for sale at the sugarhouse when we are open.


 Remember to "Like" us on Facebook or visit our website to get all the latest updates. 

That's all for now. As always, contact us with any questions.

Thank you again for your interest!

~Kelly


 ~Harding Hill Farm~

524 Stagecoach Road
Sunapee, NH 03782
Phone: 603-863-6493
Email: hardinghillfarmnh@gmail.com
Visit: www.hardinghillfarmnh.com

Posted 1/12/2015 3:01pm by The Webb Family.

Season's Greetings to all!

We made it through another busy holiday season at Harding Hill Farm. After some set backs with unseasonably warm/wet weather in December, we are now "full steam ahead" on our winter forestry projects. The recent cold weather has created frozen ground which lets us be more productive with less impact. The only downside... when the overnight temp is 15 below zero, equipment is not as cooperative as we would like it to be!

We often log on our own property, since we manage around 3,000 acres of our own forest land. When the opportunity arises, we are hired by a landowner or forester to harvest additional land. 

Our 2014-2015 winter project is an 85 acre property in Wilmot, NH. We are logging the property for Meadowsend Timberland (the forester) and the Thompson Family (the owner). 

Big logs and a shot of our log loader and skidder

 

Every forestry project has a goal... the goals may vary to include wildlife enhancement, removal of valuable timber, view creation, encouragement of desirable species, and more. The goal of this project is to provide openings and thinning to encourage the growth of white pine and yellow birch. 

Before and After Photos at this site

    

Some of the marked timber is very unique! We are cutting a mixture of pine logs, pine biomass, hemlock logs and pulp, hardwood logs, and various logs for use as firewood. It is some of the tallest timber we have ever cut. One white pine tree was 128 feet tall and 44 inches wide at the base. This tree created five 16 foot logs, one 12 foot log, and a piece of softwood pulp. That is a total volume of 1,975 board feet! 

Tyler scaling a log...

    

The Thompson project has been a lot of fun for Van and Tyler, especially because they cut this lot 11 years ago when the Thompson's built their house. At the time, the Thompson's were looking for unique wide pine planks for their floor. We are excited to be part of another project on this great property. 

Here is a comparison from 2003 to 2014:

 

Posted 12/5/2014 11:55am by Kelly Webb.

Holiday Open Sugar House - Sat. December 6th 

Come join us at our Sugar House at 131 Route 103 in Sunapee. We will be having an open house to celebrate the holiday season. The whole family will be there to show off our sugaring operation and offer hot samples of maple syrup. We will also have sample grass fed burger sliders, beef stew, and beef sausage to offer. A variety of products will be available for sale, including maple syrup in plastic or glass bottles, maple candy, and our own grass fed beef. We hope to see you there!

Posted 11/29/2014 9:43am by Kelly Webb.
Hi all, 

Well we certainly got our share of early season snow! On Thanksgiving Eve, we received around a foot of snow on the farm. We were fortunate enough to only lose power for a couple hours. So other than an early thanksgiving morning of plowing, it didn't affect us too much. 
 
    
 
As many of you may know, we have sponsored the Lake Sunapee Turkey Trot 5k for many years now. The turkey trot starts and ends in the Lake Sunapee harbor, and it is usually a great crowd of locals and visitors. Runners receive a maple syrup nip at registration, and the winners receive some nice maple syrup prizes in our glass maple leaf bottles. Our whole family usually participates either by running, walking, or cheering everyone on. 

A little snow didn't stop the town crew from doing an excellent job on clearing the Burkehaven loop this year, and the turkey trot went off like normal. We enjoyed visiting with everyone. The turkey trot (or turkey snow shuffle this year) has become a great Thanksgiving tradition to burn off a few calories before a nice farm feast. Here are a few pictures to share...
 
  
 
  
 
Posted 11/23/2014 11:00am by Kelly Webb.

We are very excited to launch our new website! We hope you enjoy our farm blog, news, and updates. Our goal is to share all we can about our farm and forest lands. Please contact us or join our mailing list to learn more.

Thank you for supporting our family business!

~ The Webb Family ~

Posted 11/15/2014 10:56am by Kelly Webb.

Hi all,                                                                                                      

It was a successful summer season for making hay, grazing cattle, and Tree Care. We even hosted Tyler and Kelly's wedding at Harding Hill Farm in September, complete with Maple Syrup wedding favors on the tables! We would like to say that things have calmed down on the farm, but it's a farm, we always have plenty to do! Tyler is finishing up fall tree work. Tyler and Van have moved back into the woods with some big forestry/logging projects this winter. The cows are also trying to make the best of their fall pasture before it turns white! Don't worry, we have plenty of hay to keep them warm and happy through a NH winter.

We do have some exciting updates to share! Mark your calendar for a few upcoming events:

Tuesday, Nov 4th - Burger Night (featuring Harding Hill Farm Beef!) at One Mile West, Sunapee, NH Join us for a fun night at this local restaurant/bar. There will be several burger specials including fries for $15. We also hear they are giving customers a free piece of pie if you tell the waitress you voted! For details, visit: Event - Burger Night with Harding Hill Farm Our burger night sold out in August by 8pm, so reserve your seat.

Saturday, Dec 6th 10am - 4pm - Holiday Open House/Sale at our Sugar house on Route 103, Sunapee, NH This is your chance to do some holiday shopping! We will have plenty of syrup available for sale in both glass and plastic. Don't forget our specialty Lake Sunapee and Mount Sunapee bottles. Other maple products will be available too! If that wasn't enough, we will have hot syrup samples and samples of our own grass-fed burger and sausage.

For beef news, we currently are up to 15 cattle on the farm, including 7 new calves this summer/fall. We have plenty of meat in the freezer from our early fall pick-up with another date set with our new butcher in January. We now bring our cattle to The Local Butcher in Barnstead, NH. They are doing an excellent job with the cattle from the moment they arrive. We have new labels and excellent packaging too! In addition, they make beef sausage from our meat, and we have that tasty new product on the price list in limited supply.

Please contact us for our Fall/Winter 2014 Beef Price List. Don't forget to check out our new Winter Warmer and Steak/Burger Packages. Email or call us if you would like to place an order!

Remember to like us on Facebook, for the most recent updates - Harding Hill Farm 

That's all for now. Thank you again for your interest!

~ Kelly

For more information on Tree Care, Beef, and Maple Syrup Sales, contact Tyler or Kelly Webb:
kwebbhhf@gmail.com
sugaringman85@yahoo.com
Cell: 603-504-4121  Office: 603-863-6493