Bestselling U.S. Civil War Naval Operations History in 2020
Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!
- Amulet Books
War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865 (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era)
- Used Book in Good Condition
Civil War Sub: the Mystery of the Hunley (Penguin Young Readers, Level 4)
Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History
- Scribner Book Company
Commander Will Cushing: Daredevil Hero of the Civil War
Ships of the Civil War 1861-1865: An Illustrated Guide to the Fighting Vessels of the Union and the Confederacy
A naval history of the Civil War
- Hard Cover Book
American Civil War Marines 1861–65 (Elite)
Sea of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley
The Civil War at Sea
Secrets Of A Civil War Submarine: Solving The Mysteries Of The H. L. Hunley
The Naval History of the Civil War
Escape From The Deep: The Epic Story of a Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew
- The epic story of a legendary submarine and her courageous crew during WWII.
March Maple Weekends in New York
A review of a visit there during Maple weekends in March 2020 with brief review of their operations and maple syrup production
To celebrate Maple Weekend in 2020, my wife and I visited Critz Farms near Cazenovia, New York. This site is just one typical example of what might be offered at any one of several dozen small farms and maple producers across the New York State that participate in these weekends.
Our day began with a large country breakfast served in a large dining hall. This included ham, eggs, breakfast potatoes, French toast and pancakes. Of course, pure maple syrup was the feature topping for the pancakes.
After breakfast, a tractor pulled wagon loaded about two dozen at a time for a tour of the sugar bush. The maple forest here is crisscrossed by a vast network of bright blue plastic pipelines collecting the sap from some 1500 taps. Typically, there is one tap per 18 inch tree, with an additional tap for every eight inch increase in tree diameter. Individual trees are tapped for several years, with new taps placed at least six inches from sites used in previous years. The taps are placed starting in February when snow is still up to several feet deep. As the sap begins to run in late February or early March, it is collected via pipeline into large holding containers, then transferred to an enclosed evaporator where the sap is boiled down to syrup.
At Critz Farms they use a traditional wood fire, fuel being added regularly every few minutes during the hours of boiling. The syrup is then filtered and finally graded according to color as light, medium or dark. Lighter amber grades are sweeter and preferred for table use, while darker amber grades are recommended for cooking, providing a good substitute for brown sugar.
This is a rather small operation, producing about 30 gallons of syrup a day, or perhaps 400 gallons a season. At a current retail price (2020) of about $45 a gallon. New equipment is expected to increase this production to 50 gallons per day in the near future. A variety of syrup and maple products are available for sale, as well as other agricultural products in season.
Critz Farms is a diversified operation, and, presumably, many other small producers are also. Their other agricultural products include a variety of conifer trees for nursery and Christmas trees, apples, pumpkins, gourds, blueberries, strawberries, and ornamental corn. Related to the season, this farm is open to the public many weekends during the year, with apple and pumpkin harvests in the fall being especially popular. With a well equipped play ground and safely fenced in pigs, and llamas, this is a good spot for a family outing to celebrate the spring season.
Small producers like this that are close to an urban population base can draw on a fairly large local market. Cazenovia is an easy day trip from both Utica and Syracuse. However, if one has the time, there are a wide variety of similar sites in many counties across the state. Each year, one might consider going a different place, to celebrate the arrival of spring with this popular festival.