Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Banana Cream Pie

It's what's for second breakfast the day after oral surgery. We are serving only soft foods to my little one for the next few days. Yesterday it was ice cream all afternoon. Today started with scrambled eggs...

There has to be a bright spot to oral surgery.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

It all becomes crystal clear

There are so many life lessons to be learned from backyard sugaring. So many sweet rewards.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Change is in the air

Two weeks. There is a light snow falling today, a foot of snow on the ground, and the sap is turning. The season is drawing to a close. Just over two gallons. I feel fortunate to have had this season. Though it's been short, it's still quite sweet.

Friday, March 27, 2015


The sugaring season is governed by the weather. In 10 days it will be this year's memory. So much in life is not so foreseeable.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Christmas Revisited

Our Christmas Cactus is reblooming. Its interesting to watch nature do a double take. I've never seen a cactus bloom at Easter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We are three for three

Third boil produced much the same as the first two. Seven and a half quarts is the running production total. The weather is warming quickly. Not too many freezing nights remain in the forecast. Only Mother Nature knows how long our season will run. This is always an interesting time of year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Do you follow the rules?

I believe generally we all follow the rules. In America the rule is to drive on the right hand side of the road. The consequences of doing otherwise are dire.

In maple sugarmaking the rule is sap runs when the temperatures are 40/20. The trees are tapped when the temperatures approach this split. But there is always one. One that flows to her own drum. One that fills the bucket when the temperature barely clears 32. This time of year; she makes me smile. While all her sisters are steadfast holding out for 40 or better, she is dancing in the sun. Good girl.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Morse Farm

Probably nine years ago, we first visited Morse Farm up in Vermont and met Burr Morse. It's so cool to talk with another sugarmaker; to see their evaporator. In this photo, behind Burr is their three stage pan: the warmer, the main pan and the finishing pan.

They have thousands of taps in acres of trees, with a new sugarbush under development. Our single pan is smaller than their finishing pan... But we are only a backyard enterprise of now 15 taps. So that's not surprising. And our expansion was blessed by the baby finally being big enough for her first bucket. Talk about a rite of passage.

It's so gentlemanly of Burr to remember me, and to take time out of his day to sit and chat about the season. Our's is in full swing and up north they are still frozen. Probably this week their sap will start to run. Hopefully.

Imagine having your livelihood based upon the weather. They have had their share of bad seasons. It happens. For our small operation I watch the weather and wonder if we will make one or five gallons. For Morse Farm, it's will we survive. Burr has been a sugarmaker for 64 years.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What? Where?

What happened here? Where is she? She being the proper pronoun use for my bike. Ruby is at the bike spa for her annual spring tune up. New tires, brake pads, chain and gear cassette, along with cleaning and tuning. She will be gone a week. I miss her.

Yesterday I was driving through towns I regularly ride through. I'm so looking forward to riding on the streets again.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chris Tomlin Sing A Long

It's been a hundred years since I've been to a concert. Last night I went Lowell to hear Chris Tomlin. It was amazing. As it was a standing room only sing a long. We were church. Rocking out in praise of God. A serious full house sing a long. Several times Tomlin stood there and just listened. And to be honest, young and old, the house could carry a tune.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Can you say road trip?

Sure you can... Sugarmakers never see each other during the season. But I'm making an exception. Heading up to see Burr Morse tomorrow. Looking forward to sharing some of our syrup with him.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

3 years or 36 thousand

As I pulled into the driveway yesterday I had a true sense of doom. Less than a mile, an the warranty on my vehicle expires. I'm in a love hate relationship with the dealership service department. For their multi point system check had failed to detect steering problems over the past several months. And only visits to an independent mechanic brought to light several thousands of dollars worth of repairs as well as multiple visits and delays to work.

Yes the dealership fixed everything under the warranty. But as I have mentioned to them, I trusted them to return to me after every maintenance visit a vehicle that was at 100 percent. Not one that would need a second opinion.

As jeff noel says, be an example not the warning... In life and business.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Why do it?

A friend emailed and asked if I wanted to meet them at the Pub literally next door to have a beer and listen to the local Irish legends. My reply, "I can't. I'm boiling sap." I then invited them over after their brew and band fix to visit the shack. My final words were, "It's not that exciting." And as I stand here going on 5 hours with hours still to go... I find myself asking, why... Why do I do this? Eleven years of watching a pan boil; late evenings, predawn mornings. Why?

The only reason I can think of is, because I can. After all the effort, all the hours, all the watching, in the end there will be sweet maple syrup. I wonder if it will ever grow old. I wonder if or when we move to Main Street USA, will I miss it? Will I scour the weather channel for the prime sugaring temperatures? Will I return North to pitch in for a weekend or week with my brother and sister maple sugarmakers?

Only time will tell... Until then, or at least for tonight, I'm watching the pan.

Squeezing it in

With sugaring afternoon and evening time is at a premium, so squeezing in a quick 15 minutes on the bike now. Fifteen is better than zero minutes. Who knows I might be able to grab more later. But why wait? This 15 will be gone.

And The Days Run Together

The sap is running. There is a new stained glass project. Teaching religious ed. The mom bus is doing overtime. And I'm dying to get my bike in the road. Not to mention, I still have a day job.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The First Boil

The first was Saturday. The second will be tomorrow. Someone asked how I get so much done in a single day. The answer was planning, and my house always needs to be dusted.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Amazing

Yesterday was a huge day for two reasons. It was the first boil of the maple sugarmaking season 2015 but more importantly it was the semi finals for festival. Festival is the state wide theatre competition. At which my middle one was the Sound Head for her high school. That's her on stage before their performance. The mega importance of yesterday that beats out sugaring: watching her grow and bloom into a superior being of herself. As a parent I could not have been more proud.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

All the taps were running yesterday

A first for this season.
First partnered bike ride planned yesterday. April 4th. Cape Cod. A leftover ride from last fall. The bike has one more week on the trainer then it's into the shop for a tune up.

Spring is here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Winter Revisted

The weather report suggests spring is coming. I've worn crocs instead of boots for two days. But it is returning to being cold and the sap did not run yesterday. As in all life, patience. Spring will come. Then summer, when we wish for cool breezes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


You can find a best friend in the most unexpected of people and places.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How do you know?

How do you know Spring is upon us?

Spring is upon us when you think about wearing something other than the comfy boots you have worn for the last seven weeks when stepping out of the house.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring By The Numbers

12 years since we started maple sugarmaking. Missed only one season. Making this our 11th. Wondering how successful this season will be.

10 years blogging. Over 3424 posts. Assuming it's the anniversary of this blog's start, ( which it's not) and saying a post is written everyday so 3650 posts in 10 years, over 93 percent success on daily writing.  In October 2015 that calculation would be more accurate.

5th year riding in the Boston Brain Tumor Ride. Unimaginable miles and prayers.

Do you ever wonder when it's time to stop... If ever. Is this the last ride, (never)... last post, (maybe... soon) last season (can't imagine it)?

Monday, March 09, 2015

Dug Out

We had to dig out around some of the trees to make sure the buckets were hung waist high. Interesting.

Friday, March 06, 2015

For Every Day Be Grateful

Yesterday ended with a great game of running in the house hide seek and tag. Who knew? Not me... But there were screams of surprise and gales of laughter. Of course, after the homework was done. Let's do it again.... And again

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Are you working hard? Hardly working?

How do you know?
When you work hard, you risk failure, big time. Win or lose, there is always a learning curve.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

This is going to be a problem...

We will be hanging some high buckets... Yeah... Every sugaring season has it's interesting points. This one will be late, fast and hung high.

It's Coming.

We will tap the trees Saturday. Time to set up the shack. Walk a path out to the trees. Lay out the buckets and sap bins. Better late than never.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Another first, in the year of firsts

Went to a spin class sponsored by the Boston Brain Tumor Ride. It was hard. It was work. I would go again.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Where Did Today Go?

For a walk with friends; 2 four legged and a dear one with two. Yeah it was chilly, but it was lovely.