About Danny

Danny Bourque is a mechanical engineer who is known at both home and work as either “the geek” or “the numbers guy”. He is very methodical and genuinely loves to analyze almost anything that piques his interest – including food.

Sugaring off | Simple Bites

10 things you probably didn’t know about making maple syrup (Recipe: Maple Sausage Patties)

We’ve been waiting for the sap to start running so we can continue to make maple syrup. And waiting. And waiting some more.

The ideal conditions for sap collection is above freezing temperatures during day, and below freezing at night. Unfortunately, it’s been consistently so dang cold that nothing has really happened. Then we had one glorious day with full buckets, and now it has been consistently above freezing – so no more sap.  Sheesh.

Since we can’t elaborate further on our personal progress, I’ll share a few particulars I’ve recently gleaned about making maple syrup and then add in a killer recipe for your Easter brunch to boot. Ready?
[Read more...]

How to know when it is time to tap maple trees | Simple Bites

How to know when it is time to tap maple trees

I recently met up with my buddy, Yannick, owner and head maple guy over at Erabliere des Anges, to catch up over coffee and discuss the upcoming sugaring off season.

He’s been running a small, family-based, organic sugarbush a few hours North of here for the past 2 years; we tapped 5 trees last year. This is all-consuming for him at this time of the year; we lose access to our stovetop in the evening for a few weeks. We both have day jobs to pay the bills. He knows much, much more about maple syrup than I ever will.

I mentioned that we think we missed much of the season last year because we tapped our trees too late, and so we began discussing (more like him teaching) about the ideal time to tap, and what to look for. [Read more...]

trees B&W

Homestead Winters

If you heed the advice in the adage, “you need to make hay while the sun shines”, you had better make sure that your tractor is up to the task during the wintertime.

The truth is, that unless you have a greenhouse or indoor garden, there isn’t a lot that you can do on the homestead in the winter other than to plan ahead for the next year and make sure that your equipment is running in tip-top shape.  Here is what we are planning for in these cold, dark days of winter. [Read more...]

urban homestead

Long weekend projects and garden shed plans

It’s the start of a long weekend here in Canada, and that means 2 things: visiting (eating) with family and getting yard projects crossed off the list. Yay!

Previous projects have included a fire pit, a chicken coop, compost bins, our raised beds and installing rain barrels. Removing a wind-fallen tree was not a planned project, but we got it crossed off the list nonetheless.

It seems like we’ve gotten all the easy tasks out of the way, and so the next ones are going to require a little more planning: a new back deck or a garden shed.  This weekend, we’re probably going to tackle the planning of the garden shed. [Read more...]

July garden update

July disaster, regrowth and lessons learned: a homesteading update

Editors note: I asked Danny to share about our July garden disaster in his frank, factual way. I haven’t written about it previously because, well honestly, I was too upset. If you’ve been through a major storm, one that has wreaked havoc on your homestead, then you’ll understand why.

I‘m one of those people who love storms. I guess I’m both awed and impressed by the sheer power that they unleash, whether it be a rain storm, thunderstorm, blizzard or hail.  I’ve never really thought of them as dangerous, because we watch from the comfort of our home, and get candles and stuff like that ready, “just in case” we lose power.

But last month, we had a very intense wind/rain storm that reminded me that there is indeed an element of danger and they are no laughing matter. From Aimee’s various Instagram pics and Facebook updates, regular readers will know that our neighbor’s large tree crashed through the fence and landed pretty much square on our garden.  Here is the story.

[Read more...]