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Happy Maple Syrup Sunday!

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In Maine we celebrate Maple Syrup Sunday on the second to the last Sunday in March.  Did you know that Maine is the second largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.?

Here are some other interesting factoids:

– It takes 40 gallons of sugar maple sap to make one gallon of pure Maine Maple Syrup.

– It takes freezing cold nights and warm sunny days with temperatures in the 40’s and up before the sap will run.

– It takes approximately 40 years for a sugar maple tree to reach tapping size.

Our home has once again taken on the challenge of tapping our own trees.  Each year is a bust for us when it comes time to make syrup.  But I am determined to one day get it right, without having to spend thousands of dollars on industrial equipment.  We shall see what the next couple of weeks bring.  Hopefully it will be some syrup… even if it’s just a small pint!

I didn’t get much done project wise.  I think I needed some down time after all the stress from the Pinewood Derby.  I also needed a couple of days to get this house in order before my husband came home.  His patrol is finally over and the kids and I will have some time with him before he takes off yet again in another month.

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One thing husband and I did was start some cool weather crops down in the basement.  Using grow lights we (or should I say he) planted cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions, peas and beans.   We are so excited to finally get the garden started this year.  We have so many ideas and plans.  I hope to have an over abundance of crops.  Enough to share with our friends and neighbors!

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I love knitting, although I love yarn more.  I wish I had more time to knit and learn more knitting techniques.

Last summer, when I found out I was having another baby girl, I began knitting a blanket.  Here we are over 8 months later and the blanket is no where near finished.  I’ve promised myself that this darn blanket is going to be finished by the time summer arrives.  That should give me more than enough time… right?  Let’s hope so!  Or else Baby Girl will end up using this blanket as a towel cloth instead!

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This week I read “Touch Blue” by Cynthia Lord.  The story takes place in Maine so, of course, I had to enjoy the book.  I always love how authors depict Maine and New England in general.  It’s so refreshing and peaceful.  I can literally smell the ocean air and feel the sand gritting between my toes.  It’s fantastic.  In “Touch Blue” families volunteer as foster parents to meet minimum state requirements to keep their school open on the island where they live.  The story focuses on 11-year old Tess and her new, older, foster brother Aaron, a veteran of the foster care system.  I particularly like how each chapter begins with a superstition.  My favorite is Chapter 16, ‘If you write your wish beneath the stamp on a letter, the letter will carry the wish with it.”

What time is it? It’s maple syrup time!

It’s that time of the season… Maple syrup is a flowing!

Maine celebrates this festive part of the season as “Maine Maple Syrup Sunday”, which occurs on the last Sunday of March.  It’s a sure sign that, yes, spring has arrived and warm weather is on its way.  Since moving North we’ve yet to miss a Maple Syrup Sunday.  We are so fortunate to have multiple maple syrup farms within a five mile radius of our home.

Three years ago, my husband and his infinite wonderful ideas, went maple syrup crazy.  After making our traditional Maple Syrup Sunday trip he became obsessed with the idea of tapping our own trees. He trekked back to the farm and bought everything he needed to tap a few trees on our property.  Seeing it as yet another crazy idea of my dear husband’s I just sat back and waited for disaster to happen.  But when I saw my kids tap their first tree all those worries went away.  The look on their faces to see the sap flow.  It could have been liquid gold.

Although the disaster did not occur, turning the sap to syrup proved to be an undaunting task.  Since we did  not own any professional type of boiler we resorted to boiling the sap on our stove, and in an electric roaster pan on our porch.  Both an absolute bust.  It was so disheartening.  Jugs and jugs of sap and not one ounce of syrup.  Frustrating to say the least.

Flash forward to this week, when the weather was nothing short of spectactular.  As I pulled in to the driveway one evening I found both of my children nowhere in sight.  My husband said they were at the neighbors house.  A few hollers out my front door they come screaming along on their four-wheeler.  And what appeared in my daughter’s hand?  Pure liquid gold.

It appears my children were helping the neighbor collect sap from his trees.  Because of their hard work he rewarded them with a small jar of syrup.  Of course I was proud…  but after intense jealousy ran through my veins first!  I thought to myself, “if my neighbor can do it, I can do it.”

So here I am today.  This time it’s a decision I’VE made.  My husband is coming home and he’ll be tapping a few trees for me… my crazy idea.  Only this time I’LL do it right!  Sorry, honey…

…how sweet it is!