Saturday, February 22, 2014

Maple Sugaring

February started out looking a lot like this: 

Finally today though, we had a lovely, spring-like day. We went with some friends to a local living history farm and learned about maple sugaring. I actually learned a lot today. For instance, you can only tap a maple when it is above freezing during the day and below at night. You also need about a gallon of sap to make 6 ounces of maple syrup. (It's called sugaring because if you keep boiling the sap, you eventually end up with maple sugar.) No wonder it's so expensive!

We got to help make the butter for our maple-syruped pancakes.

And then the boys realized that they were selling the maple taps in the gift shop. Gummy Bear helpfully reminded us that we had TWO maple trees in our yard. And so, we tapped ourselves a tree. The taps themselves were only $3, the piece of tubing is $1 and the jug we had sitting the house.

You have to drill a hole in the tree at an upward angle so that when you take the tap out, the tree can flush the hole and heal properly.

And then the sap starts dripping out of the tree. Seriously, just like that. It's actually really cool. It tastes like very lightly sugared water. You know. Because it is.

And here's the final set up. We tapped the tree about 3 hours ago and already have two inches of sap in the bottom. Because our maple is not a Sugar Maple, we can only expect 3 ounces of syrup from our gallon, but that's not really the point, is it?

Friday, February 07, 2014

In which I am over this winter

There have been 4 snowstorms this winter that have yielded enough snow to both close the boys' schools and send our state into a tizzy of OMFGDONOTGOOUTSIDEORYOUWILLSURELYDIE. Lucky girl that I am, I have had to work every. single. one. This means I get to fight the ice and snow on the way to and from work and then try to sleep whilst the kids are cooped up in the house. Good times. Good times. It is not necessary to say that I am firmly over this winter.

On the plus side, all this snow has given us lots of opportunities for cute pictures of the boys playing the snow. Like this one, for example:
Yes, I know my Christmas wreath is still up. Don't judge me.

Our last snowfall was wet, heavy, and started with ice. It was enough to send a giant crack through this tree branch. Once the snow melted a bit, the branch came up a bit from the patio, but it is still going to have to go this spring.
When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream,
Of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam.
Ry and I also celebrated our 10th anniversary last Friday. Well done, us! Ten years seems like both a freakishly long time and an absurdly short time all at once. I can't say I feel as though we've accomplished something because it wasn't that hard. Don't get me wrong, it's neat that I still enjoy my husband this much after 10 years, but it wasn't some uphill slog to get here. I have now known Ry longer than I haven't. He is just part of my life and I can't imagine it without him.

I am very excited that we are leaving to go to Las Vegas tomorrow to celebrate said non-slog. We'll be leaving the kids with my mom and stepdad for 3 nights (!!!). The last time we left our kids a hurricane hit the east coast. I'm praying for a far less eventful trip this time. As much as I have been looking forward to this trip, it also fills me with anxiety to leave the kids. Like, a lot of anxiety. Still, I know they are in good hands and flying is the safest way to travel. Let it go, let it go! We are staying in a fancy hotel and going to eat good food and see fun shows. What better way to celebrate?

So. Yeah. That's about it really. Going away and hoping for spring. Anytime would be great.

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