2017 is here!

2017 is here and how did we spend it?  As we always do, we watched a few shows and were snoring in our chairs by . . . 10 p.m.  But up again around 5 a.m. to a beautiful New Years Day, which also happens to be my birthday.  Yes, I was that tax deduction that my parents had to wait a full year to realize :).  But the day awaits for a bonanza of candle making and sheep milk lotion making.  A day in the lab is a day where I am happiest.  The store has settled down from the holiday rush, the ewes are growing plump with lambs, the piglets and sows are settled into a routine of wandering wherever there is a fence not strong enough to contain them, the chickens don't venture too far from the barn, and the cows continue to let us know every few days that their hay is better on the other side of the fence.  So while it is our "down" time of year, we still continue to keep ourselves busy.

So what exactly happened on the farm this week:

Brian gave a tour to a group of foreign exchange students attending North Cedar Academy.  For a lot of these kids, these were the first farm animals they have seen so there were lots of good questions and excitement along with a little trepidation.  We are always thankful to educate and let people experience the farm.

The most recent grouping of pigs were castrated.  This is all done very quickly and done before momma even knows they were gone.

The fencing needed to be repaired for the cows because as we stated earlier, they thought the grass was greener on the other side (even though it is just snow on the other side).  The fencing for the pigs needed to be repaired as they wanted to visit the ewes and mingle.  As we progress through the year, you will find that fixing fence is probably a weekly occurrence.


Before we close the blog for this week, we need to reflect on 2016.  What did we all do at Maple Hill Farm in 2016?  Well, let's see . . . We introduced a few new products to the Maple Hill Farm product line, added bees for pollination, added more gardens and a small greenhouse, introduced 3 new sows to the farm, continued to revamp the ewe fencing, continued to hold classes on the farm with naturopath Gigi Stafne and forager Samuel Thayer, introduced our products to a few new stores throughout the U.S.  It has been a busy, but very fulfilling 2016.


So what do we have on the agenda for 2017?  Adding a small commercial kitchen, finalizing our audit and paperwork with AWA (Animal Welfare Association) to be certified, hopefully getting some honey from our hive this year, always working to develop new, natural products, and now adding a weekly blog so you can join us on our journey.



Let me leave you this week with a few recipes that are very useful this time of year.  


Time to make the Fire Cider!


1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root 

1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root 

1 medium organic onion, chopped 

10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped 

2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped 

Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon 

Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves 

1 tbsp organic turmeric powder 

1/4 tsp organic cayenne powder 

organic apple cider vinegar 

local honey to taste 


Prepare all of your roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart-sized jar. If you've never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus opening experience! Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or a plastic lid if you have one. Shake well. Store in a dark, cool place for a month and remember to shake daily. 

After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquidy goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. Next…comes the honey. Add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup until you reach the desired sweetness.  

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. 



How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Flu Prevention


A simple elderberry syrup recipe made with dried elderberries, honey and herbs for an immune boosting and delicious syrup. Can be used medicinally or on homemade pancakes or waffles.

Author: Wellness Mama

Serves: 1 quart


• ⅔ cup dried black elderberries (about 3 ounces)

• 3½ cups of water

• 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

• ½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder

• 1 cup raw honey 


1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)

2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.

3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.

4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.

5. Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.

6. Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.