A Delightful Saturday

Today, Michelle was invited over to visit her friend, Jacob.  Michelle likes going to Jacob’s house because he has two young sisters and a Jack Russell Terrier.   Jacob’s dad is the pastor of a church and they live in a big parsonage next to the church.

This was on our property as we headed down the hill today.

Yes, there is ice there, along with water running. It was so pretty!

We took Michelle over to visit early this afternoon and then Mark, Ben, and I went for a nice Saturday afternoon drive in the country.  We decided to take another trip to Sauder’s (the Mennonite “grocery store”)  The store was so stuffed full of people, wecould hardly move!

Along the way, we saw this cool church steeple.

As you can see, the poor steeple is in need of some TLC.  The funny part is that the church below the steeple is in fine shape.  Only the steeple is in need of help!  Perhaps the problem lies in getting someone brave enough to do the work!

A we passed through the little town of Waterloo,  Mark thought I sould take a photo of the hardware store, where the window was full of highly polished bright copper weathervanes.  Of course, curiosity caused me to walk over to the store and check out the price of that big fish weathervane.  It’s price of  $899 was nearly as hefty as the vane itself!

We picked Michelle up again shortly after dinner.  As we drove past the boat launch down in Woodville,  I asked Mark to park in the parking lot for a few minutes.  I wanted to see if there were any redwing Blackbirds hanging out there so the family could hear the funny sounds they make.  Sure enough, there were many birds there. The fellow below kept opening his wings up and making all sorts of sounds!

There weren’t just blackbirds, either.  I spotted a Hairy Woodpecker working on a tree right near the water as well as the little Robin below, hiding amongst the brush. Shortly thereafter, another Robin appeared and I realized they were courting.

We got home shortly before seven, just in time to watch a Sabres game.  Thankfully, they won the game, assuing them a spot in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup this year.  Oh, how wonderful THAT would be……….

Sweet Sappy Success!

In the midst of trying to make sense of Mark’s less-than-happy diagnosis last Tuesday,  it seems like we are running in circles!  Well, I realize that isn’t true,  but sometimes it feels that way! With Michelle’s busy college schedule, I am often taking her to school or retrieving her.  Then there is the racquetball that she must play at the YMCA to receive her credits.  Add to the mix things like going to the mall last Wednesday evening to watch the kids’ friends’ band play at a store….you get the idea!

As I thought about the maple syrup season this year,  I committed to drilling the hole in the tree, setting the tap, and producing some syrup.  Now, mind you, it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup.  That requires a great deal of boiling down the sap.  Since I only tapped one small tree, I have been making teeny tiny amounts of syrup every couple days.

Our weather went from wildly warm to bone-chilling cold recently.  Yesterday, while we were running around,  every time we had to leave the comfy cozy truck,  as we opened  the door, the icy wind felt as though it would slice right through us!  This morning when we got up,  the temperature was far below the freezing mark! This, of course, plays right in with the need for a fire to not only heat the house,  but to boil down the sap…

I know this seems like a lot of work for the tiny amount of sweet syrup I’ve made thus far, but, oh my goodness!! I used some of my homemade syrup on pancakes one day and it far surpassed some of the dark maple syrup found in the stores.  It is so sweet, it tastes much sweeter than sugar!

I’ve dreamed of clearing an area for our maples to be isolated into a maple grove for syrup, but thus far, it has remained as only a dream!

I’ll include one more photo I took as we arrived home last night.  This was as it was just getting a little dark….