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Mar. 26th, 2009 12:54 pm
helwen: (Default)
L and I went out this morning and worked on forms. We have all of the basic hand form now, a little bit of the next one, yee lu chuan, and we learned more of the first staff form yesterday, so we practiced that to make sure we don't forget the new bits. Happily, I didn't hit myself in the head again ;)

Then we went for a walk - not brisk, but probably about 2 miles. L was checking the level of some of the buckets and tanks, and we stopped in at the sugarhouse briefly on the way back to check in with nephew Curtis. He was there giving a tour to some school kids and boiling.

The rivers around here are running quite nicely :) Oh, and we heard a great horned owl hooting!

And now, a blast from the past, an HBO standup comedian special from the 80s, featuring Ritch Shydner:

Part I
Part II
Part III

[EDIT: Shydner's humor is sort of good ol' boy, so you may or may not be into it. He's done writing for shows and for folks like Jeff Foxworthy. Probably my favorite bit from these is in Part II -- Canyon Man. Here he does an excellent job of making fun of driving and drivers in L.A.]


Mar. 24th, 2009 09:40 am
helwen: (Default)
Well, apparently we're making dark already. But in the meantime the weather's gotten cold, and collecting's slowed down. I'm still hoping that the next run is Medium (nice to have something of everything) -- not likely, I know, but also not impossible. Some years it's even been known to go back to being Light briefly, before going back to Medium and then Dark. The season always starts Light and ends Dark; that doesn't change. Just everything in the middle ;)

We could have used more Light than we got though, so my MIL will have to use what she has even more wisely than usual. Light -- and only the first Light, not any that shows up later in the season -- is what's used for making candy and cream. We also use it for powdered sugar, although I think you can use medium for that too. But for candy in particular, it has to be first Light. Although there's the same amount of sugar in toto in all the colors of maple syrup, the ratio of the types of sugars changes. And the type that will allow the syrup to set up as candy is highest in first Light.
helwen: (Woodsy)
We didn't gather on Friday, but did gather on Saturday. Early afternoon was the perfect time weather-wise/temp-wise. W and young Mary did a little bit more tapping (yes, we're running a little late, weather stuff).

More boiling has happened.

Transfer station this morning, more gathering this afternoon. Much recycling to do, and trash too (barn cleaning among other things). While eventually I want to make paper bricks, right now we need the space more.

Got in a couple of knapsacks for me and L. I don't like the stencils, so I'm working on covering them up, at least on mine -- L will have to decide what he wants to do. First applique is on!

Other than the stencils and a few other minor details, it's a nice pack. Cotton canvas, brass fittings, leather straps, padded shoulder straps.

We can see patches of ground through the snow now, as of Friday.
helwen: (me1)
more sugaring pics )
helwen: (me1)
[EDIT: These pictures were from a week or two ago.]

photos behind the cut )
helwen: (Laundry)
Been out a few times in the past week or so, walking anywhere from two to four miles. On one walk we couldn't stand how much trash there at the bridge on Baptist Corner Road near the farm and picked up a few cans and such.

Then a few days later we did a trash pickup as a planned activity. 2.8 miles I believe, but probably more like 3 if you add in the meanderings off the edge of the road to pick things up. Chatted with a few folks here and there -- one even stopped his truck -- saying hello, and thanking us for picking stuff up. The weather was gorgeous, I got to know the area a little better, and we're pretty sure we picked up enough cans to pay for the trash bag the non-recyclables to go into. Very cool all around.

This morning was just a short walk to check the sap tanks, maybe two miles total. L collected sap from the tanks this afternoon, and hopefully that's the end of that. Boiling, cleaning, etc. still to come, of course.

Oh, and I got laundry done and got to hang most of it outside today! Whoot! I was hoping I'd get done early enough in the day to do it, and I actually managed to get two washes done in time. Laundry may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it's as good a reason as any to be outside enjoying fresh air and sunshine :)

I'm not entirely pleased with the washing machine however -- it lacks thoroughness on occasion. I'll have to spot wash a couple of things later on... hand-washing is still a tedious thing, but sometimes it's the only way.

Some of the ladybugs in the apartment were collecting at the west end of the hallway, so L opened the window to try to persuade some of them to leave. They are very slow.... I finally took a broom and a brush and worked on sweeping them out. It would be nice if they didn't all starve to death in the apartment...


Apr. 5th, 2008 08:28 am
helwen: (Default)
On the LOLcat meme I'm Lion Warning Cat. RARR!

On the Deity meme I had some fun playing around with it. Got The Chosen the first time, but got to thinking more about some of the questions, and got God. Then got into discussing some of the questions with [livejournal.com profile] fitzw because they more interesting than usual, and played around with the quiz. Interestingly, I could flip between The Chosen and God with just one question changed.

Gathered from the tanks this morning, bringing in 7-8 barrels of sap. Boiling started 10:15 a.m. and go for a few hours. Once again, folks are welcome to come see it (those who live somewhere near here, obviously). It's a bit on the light side, but we are getting dark.

Birds around here create quite the racket in the morning! All sorts, can't ID all of them. But at the least we have robins, sparrows, barn swallows, partridge, Canadian geese, Redtail and Cooper hawks, chickadees, Blue jays, cardinals, and I _may_ have spotted a few Bluebirds today. Watched a chipmunk running along one of the stonewalls too.

Neither losing nor gaining weight, but seem to be getting in better shape.

Weird and depressing stuff in the news... (weird) Boise, Idaho made top ten list for places with high terrorist threat (yes, the land of potatoes is higher ranked than L.A. or S.F.).

The analysis measured not whether a city would make an attractive target to a terrorist but rather how well it could withstand an attack, Piegorsch said.

"This wasn't a question of what places a terrorist wants," Piegorsch said. "The targetability is not an issue here; it's the vulnerability if they were targeted."

(Mostly depressing, feel free to skip over)
Violence between China and Tibet protesters, Blackwater got their Iraq contract renewed, U.S. employers cut 80,000 jobs in March... another airline closed down, the third in a week's time.

Arkansas is suffering yet more weather disasters (FEMA's had to visit twice in a month), and of course various tornadoes, floods, etc., all over south/southeast of the U.S. A busier hurricane season is predicted for this year too. La Nina is supposed to be active this year, which will apparently bring cooler temps this year (good or bad TBD; it's part of the considerations for number of hurricanes & tropical storms). 4 killed as Haitians riot over soaring food prices.

And, let's see... 52 girls taken from polygamist ranch in Texas, ages 6 months to 17 years. Only 18 have been formally taken into state custody and placement of these girls, who have led insular and sheltered lives until now, will have to be done with care.

... Um, think I'll avoid the news for a little while...

Oh, hey, here's one piece of good news! Rare birds are making a comeback in Cambodia, as hunters become park rangers.

Work to do today, of course. But thinking about taking a walk up Baptist Corner Road, maybe collect some trash and cans.

We may be gathering more sap this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow. Hopefully not tomorrow afternoon. Want to go to fiber textile guild gathering, and hoping L can come too.
helwen: (Woodsy)
For those interested, we'll be boiling tomorrow (Saturday), from 10:30/11:00 a.m. - 1:30/2:00 p.m. We're not absolutely sure, but it _might_ be the last day we do it for this season. Things are never quite what they seem...
helwen: (water drops)
Hi all,

More boiling happening tomorrow, 11am - 2pm.
helwen: (Default)
Dining by candlelight was lovely, of course. Not as lovely as what [livejournal.com profile] joyeuse60 and her beloved did, but we enjoy the more natural lighting. Even for tv-watching :)

We kept the lights off past the 8-9pm Earth Hour time, and if I needed to go to the kitchen to do something, I brought a lamp with me. L also used his mini-mag light on occasion, as he is wont to do. I have one as well, but I'm still not as good about remembering to use it. We know our space well, so really, unless one is doing some task-specific work that requires good lighting, candles or the occasional flash light use is mostly all that's needed after dark for us. Most night work we do tends to be things like sewing (clothing, books, embroidery), for which one only needs a nearby table lamp. Since our hallway lights are on the downstairs' electricity, the in-laws are happy that we don't have it on for hours and hours :)

Health Note: It's better to use lower-level lighting (not bright lighting, and especially not bright overhead lighting) late at night anyway, as it keeps your body from producing enough melatonin, which is stuff that among other things, helps you to get better quality sleep.

29 gallons of syrup made yesterday. Too cold today, but sap should run Monday. Possibly/probably more boiling on Tuesday. We're nearing the end of the season!
helwen: (MacGyver)
This morning we made another run to the transfer point to take more trash and lots of recycling. L is now down at the sugarhouse boiling with W. They'll be going to about 2pm.

L and crew got in 27 barrels of sap yesterday, plus there was about 3 barrels from off the hillside (a couple of pipelines cross the road and go directly into the receiving tank), and we got 10 barrels from another guy in town who gathers but doesn't boil. So, they'll be boiling around 40 barrels of sap! A barrel is around 30 gallons, IIRC.

I've been warned that if I come down I'll be put to work, but I haven't been in there for the boiling yet this season, and I do like to get my yearly 'facial' :)

Other folks are welcome to come visit and get a tour though!

To get directions online to Gray's Sugarhouse, use this address:

38 Barnes Road
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

I should move a few more things around first, bring a few boxes down to the barn, etc., but then I'll go down and check it out :)

Was looking to get water tanks from tank-depot.com, prices weren't too hideous for a quality product. But the shipping was as much as the tank plus the adapter. So, did a search for "rain barrel massachusetts", and found New England Rain Barrel. If you click on the "Shop Online" button, you get a listing of the towns that are ordering in bulk, with help from the state. Even if you aren't a resident of one of those towns, you can click on the town nearest you, order barrels (and adapters if you're going to connect a couple of them), and get $20 off the price of each barrel. Then on the appointed day you go and pick them up.

So, we'll be getting two barrels for the price of one from Tank Depot, plus one connector. Also, the barrels are recycled and local, so I'm pretty happy with this find.
helwen: (MacGyver)
With help from some Ashfield neighbors, Deb and Dwight, we have pretty much finished the South Woods today -- just a couple more trees need to be added in, using some bits and bobs that nephew L has more familiarity with at this point. [livejournal.com profile] fitzw figures there are around 400 taps in those woods -- lots of lovely big trees there. Unfortunately one is no more, having fallen over sometime this winter -- on top of one of the main lines. I dug up most of the pipeline around it, with Deb finishing the bits I didn't have the arm/body strength for. Fortunate for us, this couple has 18 years of experience at sugaring, so that was a big help in finishing this section, with each person not really needing to wait on anyone else for instruction. Although to be fair, the untrained help has also been very helpful as well -- but it did mean we only spent 3 hours in the woods today, covering 2/3 of the taps in that time.

Rumor has it that it may snow again this week.... I'm hoping that's wrong, and that we'll get rain instead.

Oh, and after today, for any of my U.S. friends who feels like complaining about the snow -- if you haven't dug 50 feet of trenches, 1-2 deep through crust and ice (there was _no_ soft snow today), I don't want to hear about it... At least the scenery is a heckuvalot nicer up here than having to do that in the city, though :D

There's still a little more tapping to do tomorrow, but I don't think I'm involved in that one. That line uses some of the last of the old pipeline with bigger spouts than the rest of the trees have, so a different, larger, heavier drill has to be used to tap. Maybe after this year it can be phased out...

On the plus side of all this work, I suppose I could say it's like going to the gym for a workout, only instead of paying for a membership, I occasionally get paid for it :)


Mar. 12th, 2008 08:24 pm
helwen: (MacGyver)

Owing to circumstances beyond his control, nephew L didn't make it yesterday to help. We're heading into peak flow for the season this week/end, so I pitched in this morning and again this afternoon. We still don't have all the tapping done, between one thing and another, so it's quite important.

This morning was some of the triple-black-diamond parts of the west hill. [livejournal.com profile] fitzw did the drilling and I tapped in the taps (so they have a good seal and don't pop out of the tree). Better this week than last week though, when there would have been 2-3 more feet of snow on the ground. In the afternoon we had nephew L and also some folks who want to learn about the sugaring process. They collected sap and [livejournal.com profile] fitzw and I headed back out to tap more, this time more to the north. Fortunately the slopes there were a bit more reasonable, with fewer tricky bits. So, 2 hours in the morning and 4 in the afternoon....

helwen: (me1)
Sunday was an excellent day. Breakfast at South Face Farm, which is another sugarhouse in Ashfield, but they have a restaurant as well as the sugarhouse. My MIL Marian's treat, for my b-day. Blueberry pancakes, among other things. Marian wanted french toast and came prepared, bringing a type of bread with her that she's allowed to have -- regular wheat being a no-no. They were great and took the bread and did it up nicely.

Home again for a short bit, then off again with [livejournal.com profile] gwynt_y_storm and Jeni and Tali, who took me up to Shelburne Falls. We met up with the Cat clan there, and hit Wandering Moon first. By far one of the best book stores in the area, in large part because they're focused on particular types of books, many of them being the kind we're all looking for... herbal, brewing, nature (general), nature (New England), various home crafts and homesteading interests, books on different types of building construction, carpentry and woodcraft, stone craft, etc. Also some esoteric books, children/youth books of a useful/entertaining sort, and so on. Wandering Moon also has all sorts of lovely handcrafted items and some gorgeous jewelry -- alas, my tastes run on the expensive side... but I did put two books aside, and may have a third one if it comes in before Alfdis comes over to return the demo items. The card reader was down and I'd neglected to bring the check book... The others came away with many books, so there was much happiness. Definitely a win-win shopping trip, since with the harsh winter weather and the fire that happened down the block from them (street was closed during the building removal), it's been a poor winter for these good folks.

Then we went wandering down the street, stopped in at a yarn shop where we ran into an old SCAdian friend, Gudrun, and her sister Bing. Haven't seen them in maybe 20 years.... she'd gone out of state, but is back now, in the Boston area. Some lovely yarns there, and they have a gathering on Wednesday nights (spinning? knitting? both?) that may be worth considering down the line. Also went to the glassblowers gallery (same street), but no glassblowing -- one of the guys injured himself snowblowing, and they work as a team. Still, some lovely things there as well. Then outside and to the end of the street to look at the dam, falls, and all the water roiling and pouring over the boulders and potholes -- the water level is high this time of year of course, so only one pothole was really visible.

Then over the bridge, where Jeni spotted Mo's Factor, and so of course we had to go in there and be treated to the young man's sardonic humor. He was actually quite friendly and helpful, and we all came away with various treats. I bought some black forest truffles, some 70% dark chocolate truffles, and a handful of dark chocolate peppermint patties. Believe it or not, aside from the sample piece I had in the store, I didn't eat any of it! Since I'd had the pancakes and also some hazelnut coffee at breakfast (and coffee means sugar!), and no real food since, abstinence was the better part of valor.

We then went to check out a pottery gallery, but it wasn't to anyone's liking -- still, it got us close enough to see the Tregellys Farm Fair Trade store, and that was definitely worth seeing. I only acquired a couple pair of clipback earring findings for converting some earrings I have that are for pierced ears, but they have a lot of lovely Tibetan, Nepalese and African items there, including pashmina shawls for $60. I was rather enamoured actually of the hooded, lined, pullovers, with pouch pockets -- 100% cotton and a classic multi-colored narrow-striped weave. Possibly might get one in the different shades of green at some point...

Then back across the bridge, where we tried to see the Vav Stuga, but it was closed. Then [livejournal.com profile] gwynt_y_storm spotted a store a little further down the street, the Goose and Boot, which had all sorts of interesting odds and ends. I got some 6" Mole Hollow candles there for less than at the store, [livejournal.com profile] etainmbw picked up some cast iron cooking dishes among other things, and Jeni also found some candles and a couple of lovely ceramic flower pots.

Then home again, home again, jiggity-jig! The Cat clan had other business, but [livejournal.com profile] gwynt_y_storm et al stayed for a little chat, before going home themselves. We then went off to East Heaven in Northampton, a lovely hot tub establishment, having a couple of granola bars on the way.

[livejournal.com profile] fitzw had arranged for one of the wood tubs, of course. These are quite deep, with benches around the sides, and you can have the jets on or off. If you go on your birthday (and provide proof of course), you get a very nice discount on your hot tub.

We stayed for an hour, listening to a CD by Enigma (who I didn't know I'd already heard some of, before -- they're very good). It was an absolutely marvelous time, and many sore/tight muscles were soothed. Plus, my skin seems to be much healthier now - yay!

So... by now the observant may have noticed I hadn't really eaten much this day.... we stopped at a Friendly's on the way home; it being rather late on a Sunday night, not much else is open. The steak tips are pretty tasty though, so one can have some decent food there if one is careful. We did give in and have a bit of the ice cream -- which, while tasty, is perhaps something I should give up...

I did finish up doing most of my PT exercises when I got home. Usually when I've been on the road all day I give most of it a pass, but I consider getting in better shape a gift, so that's one I'm giving to myself!

All told, a most excellent birthday day indeed. Probably one of the best I've had in a while! (Sugaring season doesn't lend itself to being a good time for birthdays)

Today is going to be fairly warm, so L will be going back up on the hill to clear more pipeline. I've decided to go up as well, although likely not for as long as he'll be up there. Still don't have the stamina, but most of the work on healing the shoulder is done, so I'm into the strength- and endurance-building phase.

Also bookkeeping and typing to do today, and then the business meeting tonight.

Freezing rain and sleet to come, Tuesday/Wednesday. L says tapping will be waiting until Thursday now.

Hrim Schola on Saturday!
helwen: (Tower)
We went up to town this morning as I had some things to put in the mail, and also Saturday is the day the local baker delivers fresh baked goods to the store next to the post office. We picked up a lovely multi-grain loaf, and a gallon of milk too (a little pricier at the little store than at a supermarket, but it's close to home, and the milk is from western MA dairy farmers). Lots of snow out there. It's tapering off at the moment, but that doesn't mean we won't get more.

L and crew are out, shoveling snow off the sugarhouse roof first, and then up the hill to work on the pipelines. They need to clear off as much as they can over certain areas because there's supposed to be a freezing rain on Monday or Tuesday, and we don't want the roof to collapse.

I think they will start tapping this weekend. It was a debate with William, who thinks we should wait, but L thinks W's forgetting just how long it takes to tap all the trees. We put in around 1,800 taps usually; that doesn't happen in one day. W's concern is that there's so much snow on the ground that even if it warms up this coming week, the tree roots won't feel enough of it. All we can do is our best, though.

When I'm feeling better I'll go up on the hill and tramp around some of the trees, to get the snow down a bit... not that I can get to all the trees, but it's nice up there anyway, so might as well do something useful while I'm out. Just have to make sure I don't overdo it -- which is probably why I have a cold right now....it isn't too bad, just persistent. I'm treating it somewhat aggressively in order to keep it out of the lungs. So, no outdoor work for me...

Instead, I'll do some more work on my mom's book (starting Chap. 3 today), and move things around in the apartment. And maybe nap.

The spear heads arrived yesterday! I was so foggy that I forgot L had brought the box in and put it next to my desk... noticed it late last night, so of course I had to open it and look right then and there. Even by monitor-light they looked pretty nice. This morning they look even better! And more detail than I remembered, on the socket part. picture here of spear head. It's a pretty good photo, but reality is better.

[livejournal.com profile] fitzw will be making the shafts for them to go on, but probably not until April... another reason for me to keep working on organization -- need a place to put stuff for summer/Pennsic.

Still doing my PT, even with the cold. It's a lot harder right now, so I'm breaking some of the exercises up into smaller portions throughout the day. Had to grit my way through the 10 measly knee pushups last night, not because of pain (pain is bad!), but because it made me so tired and foggy.

Brought some boxes of books upstairs from the hallway today -- L wants to sort through and pick some to keep out. I'll go through them as well, since it's a mix of sci-fi and history books. My African history books were in one of the boxes... definitely enjoyed that course! We weren't allowed to specialize for a bachelor's degree in the History department, but nevertheless I took ever medieval course I could. One of the degree requirements was to take history classes on non-'western' countries/cultures, which is how I ended up taking an African history course, because the teacher was covering early history into roughly the 14th/15th century. It was a great course, not only because I got to learn more about African history (if only in a broad overview), but it tied in so well with the European history I'd learned. I ended up doing an independent study with the same professor, and reading about Ibn Battuta's travels. Now there was an interesting man, with a great facility for remembering detail. Some historians will contest that he could remember everything he put in his memoirs, but my mother, who is nearly 80, can remember how much the donuts cost at this shop in SF, where she and the other kids would stand after school and watch the donuts being made (the donut maker was in the store window), and I myself remember how much stamps, paperbacks, and pay phones cost when I was a kid.... some things stick in the mind better than others...

It's interesting reading other people's notes on what they think of a source, and think about what it means. For instance, some historians doubt Ibn Battuta made it all the way to China, and say that he may have gotten some of his information from other travellers who came from there (they don't seem to contest that he made it to Istanbul/Constantinople -- probably because of his memories of being incredibly cold and miserable for parts of that part of his journey) -- but, they don't contest the knowledge that he relates about China. Now, some of it they could confirm from other reports and records of the time, but what makes it really interesting is that he notes an historical battle in China that previously historians had thought had happened _later_ than Ibn Battuta said it happened -- in fact, it would have happened after he'd been to China, so he wouldn't have heard of it at all.

Studying a subject in a way that seems unrelated or lateral to the subject, can sometimes bring in valuable information that you wouldn't have otherwise. Lots of things are like that, not just history. Many arts and crafts are like that too.


Feb. 27th, 2008 10:44 am
helwen: (Woodsy)
Yup, hard as it might be to believe with snow coming down on us while walking the pipelines up on the hill, spring is indeed coming.

[livejournal.com profile] fitzw and nephew Luke are doing most of that work, making sure the lines are usable, replacing damaged line, etc. They're working on the slopes that will get warmer sooner, gradually making it over to the ones in the shadier areas. The pipelines will eventually be connected to the trees and go from smaller pipes into a few larger ones, which go into sap tanks. We still use buckets along the road. Technically, we could use pipeline there too, I guess, but the buckets are so much nicer looking. On the hillside the guys are grateful for the pipelines as it saves a lot of time and effort in gathering (and cuts down on risk of injury as well).

The next phase is tapping. Each year new holes have to be drilled for the taps, because the trees naturally heal over a 6-7 week period of time. Just like people, trees have bacteria in their systems, and the purpose of some of those bacteria is to heal wounds and injuries to the tree, like for instance when a branch gets broken off during a storm. Or some pesky farmer comes along and asks for a share of the sap ;)

In the old days, formaldehyde used to be used to keep the holes open for longer, but fortunately that practice was abandoned, as it isn't good for the trees. There are also rules on how many taps you should put on a tree, and of course a minimum diameter of tree trunk, so that you aren't asking for more than a tree can safely give, or taking from a tree that's too young. We'd like our trees to be around for as long as possible!

Sugaring is a spring-time activity because that is when the sap is at its sweetest and also when the weather is just right for being able to collect the sap. What we're preparing for right now is when the temps will be below freezing at night, and in the 40s (F) during the day, for at least 3 days running.

The relatively extreme swings in temperature between day and night creates a pumping action that helps move the sap up into the branches. The maples need this in order to get nourishment to the buds, which will then open and you get the flowers and leaves for summertime.

Once the trees bud out, we pull the taps, even if the 6-7 week period isn't up. All the sugar's going to nourishing the leaves and to creating seeds. So as you can see, every year farmers have to figure out when to start tapping in order to get the maximum season. Too early, and you miss out on the end of the season, too late, and you miss out on the beginning.

When we had the restaurant people used to ask how the season was -- our answer? We'll let you know when the season's done. Because even if you get the timing right for the beginning, you could have a really cold spring, or a really warm early spring. If there was a drought the year before, that can affect things. Farming is risky business. If you've ever thought about taking up gambling, this is probably one of the biggest games in town.

Well, assuming all goes well, the trees provide lots of sap, which goes into the sap tanks and buckets. These get collected from and brought to the sugarhouse, where the boiling will happen. We have a lot more technology than folks had 100 years ago, but mostly it's to take some water out (reverse osmosis) before the sap goes into the evaporator, and various filtering systems. We do our best to use as little fuel/energy as possible, and provide pure maple syrup.

The ratio for making syrup is roughly 40 gallons of sap to 1 gallon of syrup. I do remember a few years where the sugar content was pretty low, more like 50-to-1. Hopefully this won't be one of those years.

So, it's quite a bit of work to make maple syrup, but the end product is worth it, I think. We make candy, maple cream, powdered sugar, and of course syrup. Diabetics like the powdered sugar, actually -- mind you, it's still sugar! But it's sweeter than cane sugar, so you don't need to use as much of it.

It does have different properties from cane sugar in another way -- it doesn't floss -- this means you can't make cotton candy with it, unless you do it the way [livejournal.com profile] fitzw does -- 10 parts cane to 1 part maple, so the cane flosses and the maple flavors it.

Once we're up and running, I'll be sure to post updates. That way anyone who wants to see the boiling can come up, get a tour, and a lovely whiff of maple in the air.
helwen: (jug)
Ordered a couple of spear heads and got confirmation that they are shipping. ETA Feb. 29. Part of the Roman dinner thing this summer -- add to the look for a pair of guards/escorts, and we can have cool stuff in the apartment after. Although I have to say that I still occasionally fancy one of those pierced halberds.... Hakka palle!

Okay, enough of that...

[livejournal.com profile] fitzw was up on the hill this morning and afternoon, with nephew Luke joining in for the afternoon. I did a couple of stints moving things, then went up on the hill to see how they were doing. They were just working their way back along their final line for the day. Much chopping of ice happened because the crust under the snow is quite thick in some places. I helped clear around a couple of trees and freed one line (one of the small ones). All in the snow, of course. Of which there is quite a bit...
helwen: (me1)
Good weather yesterday and today, so I've been moving more stuff out of the sugarhouse. I realize to anyone reading my journal that it seems like we've been doing that forever, but most of the time it's only me moving things, and I can only carry so much at a time. The other reason is that most of the time we can't use the minivan because of the slope getting up from the sugarhouse back onto the road -- too icy, no can do. So, I'm hand-carrying boxes and stuff. It's usually colder in the morning so I only put in 30-45 minutes then. In the afternoon I put in a couple hours or so. I'm definitely not speedy, but I'm building up my stamina again.

[livejournal.com profile] fitzw started going up on the hill yesterday, clearing the pipelines of snow, ice, and fallen branches. There are two layers of crust here now, with snow in-between. It's quite the job, trying to break through the lower layer especially. Tomorrow's supposed to still be decent weather, so he's calling in one of the nephews to help. Also today he was on the roof of the sugarhouse, clearing the snow off of the section William's most concerned might not hold -- more snow, freezing rain, etc. expected tomorrow evening/night, so the load needed to be lightened.

On the plus side, while it's certainly taking longer to empty the sugarhouse, I'm getting plenty of exercise. If you want practice walking on uneven surfaces, going up and downhill over snow, slush, and ice, and in and out of a barn with varying thicknesses of hay on the floor will give you plenty of it. Nothing like what [livejournal.com profile] fitzw's doing, of course! Me, I'll stick to the snowbunny courses for now :D


helwen: (Default)

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