Enjoying them While We May!

Yikes!

This morning, I had my day kind of plotted out before me.  I had a lot of sap that needed my attention, so that needed to be tended to.  I quickly took a look at a friend from Ohio’s Facebook photos showing beautiful little Crocuses.  I was turning green with jealousy….I was thinking it would be a few weeks before we would see any spring flowers.

I started a fire outside on my little makeshift fireplace and began filling my pan with sap. After getting everything set up, I knew I would have a little time to do something else for a few minutes.  I got my camera and walked around to the front of the house to have a look.

The snow melted away a great deal yesterday and I was surprised to see several little crocuses all up and nearly ready to open!  The sun was shining brightly most of today and those crocuses could not have looked any more beautiful!

This purple flower was just radiating sunshine!!!

I wish I would have had more time to spend with the flowers, but my project needed my attention.  Syrup making requires a lot of work, especially keeping the fire going to keep the sap boiling.  I was gathering cutoff pieces of wood from the garage and had to walk back and forth a lot.  The worst part is that it is full-blown mud season and the mud near the fire was as slippery as an ice skating rink!  I nearly fell a couple of times before realizing I needed to be extra cautious!

I had pulled up a chair on the back deck, toted out a couple of books and my laptop…how crazy to think I would have spare moments to read or get online!

I did have to stop for awhile to pack some orders.  I had one huge one for a girl in Missouri and even while packing orders,  I would hop out the door to feed the (ravenous!) fire.

So, why did I entitle this entry Enjoying them While We May?  What else?  Tonight’s forecast: snow!  Of course!

How I (Mis) Spent My Day

Yikes!  This morning, as everyone was hustling to get ready for school,  Mark said he was just too pooped to take the kids to Canandaigua….would I mind going?   Argh.  The house was a disaster and, well, yeah sure.  We were off and running a little after seven.  As I drove along the roads,  the frustration of leaving all my work on hold made me nuts, but it was okay, as I could do a little shopping that needed to be done.

I  (really “we”, as Murphy was with me)  dropped the kids off and began our long day of…well, sitting!  I have never done very well sitting, so we moved around a bit!  I visited a few stores…WalMart,  Big Lots, Dollar Tree,  Wegman’s, Bed Bath and Beyond,  Aldi, and Lowe’s.  We also visited the City Pier and sat at another parking lot near the lake for awhile.  Murphy was such a good little Scottie Boy, spending time waiting for me as I hopped in and out of stores!

I took a few random photos…

Still dry-docked, but getting gussied up!

 

Lots and lots of squawking gulls on Squaw Island. Noisy!!!!

As we were leaving the pier, I had to stop for Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.  Guess they own the pier, after all! 

On the way to the Dollar Tree, there was some activity in the plaza parking lot.  I parked away and sat and watched for awhile.  The plaza is going to be the new home of JoAnn Fabrics.  I used to work at another JoAnn’s years and years ago.  The Canandaigua store was located in the old WalMart Plaza and it was pretty run down.  This plaza is basically kitty-corner from the old store, but located in a very active plaza. The store is also going to be much larger.

I think they were hoisting air conditioning (or heating/cooling) units on top of the new store.

I smiled when I read the name of the company doing the work…

That crane was sooooo tall!  The name on the front is McGuiness Tree Removal.  I guess they could uproot some pretty big trees with that machine!

The work in progress was so fascinating, even Murphy watched!

When we were at the lake,  I was hoping to see some waterfowl, but the only birds around were some Coots and the Mallard Ducks.  I did spot one lonely Bufflehead Duck.  No idea why it was out in the water, solo!  I did see lots of Canada Geese wandering around here and there…I think they are getting ready to raise some little goslings soon.

When I got home, I had so many tasks to attend to…one being checking the sap buckets.  The sap slowed down to a standstill with the bitter weather we have been experiencing, but that was okay, as I got a chance to catch up with all the sap I had.  As I checked the buckets today, there was so much sap!  I think I collected about eight gallons from the six trees we have tapped! Time to fire up my makeshift stove outside and evaporate once again!   The weather is calling for some more snow on Friday…

Random Stuff

Tis morning as I was hopping back and forth between house and garage for firewood, I saw a leaf “embedded” in the snow.  The leaf had apparently landed on top of the snow and when the sun came out to shine on the leaf,  it began to “sink” into the snow!

The leaf was sunken down about an inch below the surface of the rest of the snow.  It really was unique!

After the grumbling of yesterday’s entry, I thought perhaps I should showcase a little “sunshine” in the house! 

The geranium plant must be three of four years old, given to us by Pastor Burt.  Strangely enough, I have kept it over the winters, usually down in the basement.  This year, I placed in a western living room window.  As I watched the plant,  that eureka moment made me realize I had never fertilized this plant!  I went to the garage and grabbed the Miracle Grow box I had out there. (Miracle Grow was formulated in Geneva, New York, just about thirty miles from our house!)

I used a tiny amount of Miracle Grow on the geranium and within a couple of weeks, the green color of the leaves was more vibrant and little bracts of flowers began to appear!  How could I remember to feed my family and my Scotties, but forget about my plants?

Hello?

Okay, so I am not one to complain about cold weather, snow, and the like. However….we are coming up on the tail end of March and it is freezing!  It seems like everyone is commenting on how cold it is!  Usually, by this time of the year, we are beginning to feel a bit of war

I won’t bother boring you with a lot of words.  Instead, I have two photos I took late this afternoon **after** the sun had been shining throughout the day.  So, you decide if all the whining is justified, or not!

Oh, just for clarification, when Mark and I built our house, we aimed it due south to grab the sun’s rays in the winter months.  That Holly is planted right in the front and center of the house.  Due south.  The taps on the trees….they are all drilled facing due south! 

The sap refuses to run when it is this cold out and any little bit of sap that was left in the buckets spent the day frozen solid.  This was okay, as I boiled down the last of the sap on the woodstove, inside the house yesterday and today.  Today, I sealed up jar number seven, for a total of 7/8 gallon of syrup!  Remember, my goal was to get one gallon for our family.  I am so psyched, because it is pretty obvious I will have enough sap to make up plenty more syrup to give as gifts!

Now, of the weather would just warm up a tad!

The Fruits of My Labors…

Thus far.  3/4 gallon.  My goal was 1 gallon.  I may end up with much more than I had bargained for!

I took a few pictures this morning as well.  Believe me, as the sun made its way across the eastern sky this morning,  I am sure there was rejoicing to be heard after yesterday’s snow!  Up in Rochester (NY) there were several accidents all attributed to the slippery roadways.  One of the saddest was a young man from Ghana who was attending college near Rochester…he had a head on collision in his little car with a huge utility truck.  He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The last two photos were taken later in the morning.  I had walked down the driveway to get the mail.  At the time, there were beautiful blue skies and the contrast between the frost on the hills and the sky was striking!  Unfortunately, by the time I walked to the house and grabbed my camera,  the clouds were already settling in.  Oh well, it was so beautiful, blue skies or not!

If you click to enlarge the first photo, you can see the line where the trees are bare, as opposed to those high up on the hill, covered in frost and snow.

In the last photo, I zoomed in a bit and the line between bare trees and trees “frosted” is more pronounced!

Hello Again, Winter?

Well, we all heard what was forecast.  The weatherman said “several inches” of the white stuff. Did we believe him?  Well, yeah, kinda.  No one wanted any more snow after dealing with it throughout the past few months.  We had no snow on the ground for quite a few days, so we were becoming used to seeing brownish grass that held the promise of transforming to vibrant green with some rain and sunshine!  Many people grumbled that we had enough winter!

The good news (I guess?) is that the sap I have gathered is nearly caught up.  I have been placing a big pot of sap on the woodstove and while the sap never boils rapidly, it does evaporate quite nicely!  It is sad looking out and seeing the trees covered in snow, though.  However, with this cold snap,  the time left for syrup-making has probably been extended a bit.

This was the view looking out at the back deck.  It wasn’t enough that the snow kept falling and falling,  but the wind kept sweeping over the roof, causing the snow to tumble down to the deck below, creating quite a nice (and very heavy!) drift about a foot deep!

I finally went out shortly after nightfall when the snow was beginning to lessen, to shovel the deck.  As I worked, the gusts of wind would dump snow on top of my head and over my entire body!  By the time I came back inside, my hair was wringing wet and my clothing was drenched!

Yeah.  My poor tulips are trying so gallantly to keep their little leaves above the snow.  I know they will be fine, as this happens quite frequently each year,  but it is such a sad sight to behold…

Just look at the Holly!  It does look festive, doesn’t it?  Hmmm….and spring officially began the 20th?

What Would You Think???

This afternoon, Mark, Ben, and I pulled into a parking lot.  On the front of the building, in LARGE letters were the words Live Chicks Inside!  So…..what do you think?

Well, of course! We were at Tractor Supply, after all!

On another note,  Mark decided to try to revive the Panasonic camera.  Yikes!  Being a mechanical engineer means that one fearlessly (or otherwise!) has no problems taking said camera apart and allowing the thing to dry out!  Mark had called Panasonic and asked about cameras.  They do not repair water-damaged cameras…not sure if that is all cameras or just point-and-shoot models.  Anyway, Mark figured he would take the thing apart and see what would happen.  He has nothing to lose, after all.  So far, the unit turns on, the flash works, but all else is still not working.

A Bit Late!

I was going to blog about our grand adventure to visit with my parents on Wednesday night after we got home, but I had taken a photo with my cell phone and my computer and cell are not on speaking terms, it seems.  The computer keeps telling me I have an error when I try to view the photos on my storage card.  So, that means I need to fish around for an adapter for my wee little micro SD card from the phone….not that I am lazy.  Just tired!

All this to say a Happy Belated St. Paddy’s Day.  This fellow was sporting a grand green chapeau for the green holiday at the rod and gun club my parents belong to.  We were there the day before St. Paddy’s and I had a dish that was chicken with a fabulous artichoke and spinach sauce on it!

All decked out for St. Paddy’s Day!
Since I am looking at photos from the cell phone, I might as well include this one…we had gone to Tractor Supply and as Mark was talking to me,  I could hear the tiniest little “peeps” calling out.  Well, I knew just where to look!  (I love this time of the year when these little peeps are made available)
The chicks were just called “Pullets” and the ducks…well, “Ducks”!
Let’s see….
Yesterday,  we went for a little ride in the woods on the ATV’s.  We had a slight tragedy in that my little Panasonic camera is no more.  It went for a big tumble down into a ravine and ended up in the water (all the while in its case).   The camera has a metal case and wound up with n’ary a dent in it! Mark is trying to revive it, but…well…I am saddened as that camera literally went everywhere with me.  It was small enough to tuck into a pocket and helped me sneak some photos where I could never have gotten away with the big Nikons. 
Today, my dad went in an got a shot of cortisone to help with some wicked pain in his back.   He has been suffering for a long time and his doctor recommended getting the shot to give him some relief!  I talked to my mom tonight and she told me my dad is doing quite well and feeling better!  I am so happy, as he has not been able to do projects and things like he normally does.  Many years ago, I had a cortisone shot administered in my knee.  I had had surgery to remove a cyst from the muscle behind my knee and afterward, my knees both swelled up and hurt so badly, I could barely walk.  The doctor got tired of my complaining, so he gave me a shot, telling me it would “only” last about six months.  That was thirty-some years ago and I never had pain like that  in my knees since. I hope my dad’s results are as great as mine were!
On another happy note,  Mark and I made a quick run to Naples today and as we passed by Woodville,  I spotted an eagle in “the tree”! (the one where I took all my eagle photos!)  There was also a flock(?) gaggle (?) of Buffhead Ducks swimming near the shore until I got out of the truck.  They are so beautiful with their black and white markings…very striking!