When I opened my eyes this morning, still toasty under the blankets, the room was aglow with a warm, radiant light. Recognizing the signs I jumped out of bed (no easy feat with these achy joints) to be treated to another breathtaking sunrise.
Autumn through spring these are expected but every single one starts the day as a huge gift. I never see them as predictors of the weather, I see them as the beginning of a string of little gifts for the day. It reminds me to look for them.
Minutes later the fog was there and the sky had dramatically changed. The most amazing part was it being so warm outdoors that I could throw on my Mucks and go out in my bathrobe to photograph the changing sky. I seem to recall there being snow on the ground by now last year or at least so cold I would have considered getting dressed first.
The weather has been unusually warm for this time of year with it predicted to last through next week. Thank goodness, there is so much garden work to do. The cold doesn’t usually stop me but it definitely slows me down. Fires have to be lit – physically and mentally in order to get going in the morning. This blessed warm weather keeps the heating costs down.
There are a million things I should be doing indoors, this is usually the time of year when the cold weather projects come out. I look forward to it – the weaving, rug hooking, quilting but it looks like all of it will be put off until after dark at least. My carrots and rutabagas are still in the ground, the perennial gardens need cleaning out. More wood needs to be cut and split. The coop needs to be moved, buildings buttoned up for the winter. Yeah, time to get moving and mentally sing the praises of warm fall weather.
For the past thirty years or so weekends in the summer have been spent on water. Our daughters know nothing else really, their entire childhood summers were spent in a boat, on a beach or in a lake somewhere. The photo above is a testament to their lack of fear. Cait was three years old giving us a thumbs up to tell us to go faster. The two of them were born to do this. Fast forward a few years and Cait is still about the speed (so in Amanda) with her whole goal being able to stay on the tube no matter what her father throws at her.
It’s always fun to watch and photograph. Twenty years of experience has made for some crazy rides.
Boating is about a lot more than pummeling your kids on a tube behind a speeding boat. It has always been about friends and family for us. Our vacations have always been spent on water with various other people sharing our experience. Some of them are avid boaters and have brought their own boats. Others spend a weekend on the water as a first time experience. These are the best times for me – introducing them to the joys of floating on the water on a hot summer day. Showing them the beauty of “our” bodies of water. There truly is nothing like seeing the landscape from the middle of a lake, it opens it up.
This is what boating is all about for us – gathering many for a day of fun and relaxation. Finding a beach, setting up your chairs, worshiping the sun, listening to the birds, reading, laughing.
And it isn’t just the kids that enjoy a day at the lake.
So it’s 14 degrees this morning and we had over a foot of snow two days ago, that could be why I’m waxing nostalgic.
We gathered sap for the first time this past Saturday. The day was gloriously warm – over 50 degrees. As you can see by the muddy road spring suddenly sprung.
Bill is pouring the sap gathered from the buckets on the trees into a tank behind the tractor (driving the tractor was my job).
We started gathering just as the sun was going down. I’m not sure how many taps there were where there were buckets. Most of Russel’s sugarbush has pipeline.
This gather was particularly difficult because the trees were tapped before the last snowstorm so the walking was difficult.
Especially since the town had winged back the snow banks. Does this look like fun?!? Although Russell wearing his florescent hunting gloves gave us fodder for ridicule. You always need something to laugh about when you’re doing something this tedious.
The buckets were only about a quarter full on every tree so you didn’t really feel like you were accomplishing a lot.
It was getting darker and I was wondering if we would be doing this in complete darkness before long.
But as we continued to say, many hands make light work. If we thought about how long it would have taken with two people doing it this didn’t seem that bad.
The photo of the tractor doesn’t really tell you how dark it was – there should be complete darkness with the headlights showing.
The tank was probably a quarter full when we finished but Russ and Bill pumped the sap from the other storage tanks on the pipeline into the sugarhouse and it was enough to fill the rig and check for leaks. The first boil is a little more stressful than the rest because you don’t really know what kind of issues will crop up. The equipment is only used for maybe a month once a year, stuff happens.
Sunday was even warmer than Saturday but the sap still isn’t running strong yet. It may be that the snow is really insulating the feet of the trees, so as the snow melts the sap will run more. We’re looking forward to a nice long season this year.