This Week’s Project Download…

Happy Maple Syrup Sunday!


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.


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!


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!


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.”

A project to complete a project…

I’m taking on another project .  A “side project”.  Remember my post about Joe, that handsome sheep who inspired me?  Well, thanks to his buddies and gal pals (I heard Joe was quite the lady’s man) I will be making this big, bulky blanket.  Yes, it has been a pretty mild winter as far as Maine winters go.  But I know we can still count on a few more cold months, and many more nights snuggled up on the couch next to the wood stove after a long day.

I am a beginner knitter.  All I’ve every made so far are scarves.  I have three incomplete scraves, one of which I am making for my son.  I started it last October, and am still knitting away.  He chose the color red, his favorite.  Unfortunately, so much time has passed his new favorite color is yellow.  So, why don’t I just finish the scarf before I take on a massive blanket that requires size 15 knitting needles?  Who knows.  Perhaps it’s the spur of the moment idea I got when I saw the picture of the blanket.  Perhaps it was the dozen Facebook posts I saw about the blanket which got me inspired.  Perhaps it’s the challenge.  If I can finish a blanket like this, where my family can cozy up to on a cold day in Maine, I can do anything I set my mind to.  Besides, what better feeling to have a blanket like this knowing it was made by hand, passed on to generations with a story attached to it.

I will finish the scarf.  I promise my son will have the red scarf by the time winter is over.  It might be the last day of winter, but it will be done nonetheless.  And maybe it will just have some yellow in it at the end.  Another project with another great story behind it.

Nuff said…

A  few months ago I visited a local sheep farm in Woolwich, Maine.  I had been buying Kelly’s yarn for a while so I decided to pack my husband and kids in my Prius for the hour and a half drive.  It was not a disappointing trip.

Upon a hilly driveway sat a small yarn shack, full of vibrant colors.  All hand dyed, locally spun yarn direct from the creatures that invaded her back yard.  Sheep everywhere.  And I mustn’t forget the chickens, rabbit, and dogs.  Looking at the small farm, making the most of the land, sent a feeling of inspiration through me.  I believe it was that trip that finally gave me the confidence to move forward on my homesteading journey.  Somehow that trip told me it was okay to have a longing for the simple way of life.

My husband must of asked a hundred different questions about raising sheep.  Not only was it fun, it was educational.  And I’ll never forget the look in my kids faces when they saw all the sheep out and about.  Their eyes bludging out of her heads.  Pure amazement.  Kids today would normally scoff at the idea of having these animals around them, worried about how “dirty” they’d get.  Not mine.  They loved it.

And then they met Joe.  Joe, the oldest sheep on the farm.  Just living day to day, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.  Old Joe had earned the right to roam freely throughout the farm.  He followed my children everywhere.  Perhaps it was the apples they carried in their hands.  Joe got a huge serving of apples that day.  The interaction Joe had with my children was wonderful.  It was in those moments I could see how much my children would benefit from this lifestyle.

A few weeks ago I got word that Joe passed away.  I was incredibly sad.  When I broke the news to my children they, too, were sad.  My daugther remembered the yarn she got that came from Joe, and how happy she was to share it at school.  I remembered how at ease I felt at the farm, around him, around all his fellow sheep mates.  It was a feeling I want to experience again, something I want to feel everyday when I wake up in the morning.

So, to you Joe, I say thank you.