Monday, July 13, 2009

Finally Summer!

After weeks and weeks of endless rain, we seem to finally have some sunshine! It was very hard to come up with the energy to be creative when it was dark and gloomy every day. The weather took its toll on the whole family. We are all doing much better now. The kids are playing in the pool (finally warm enough), and my hubby and I have started a small shed for our 15 year old. Small house, seven people living here, teenager needs space, hence the shed!
I hope anyone reading this is having a pleasant day!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring is here!


Sorry it has been a while since I have written anything here. I have had a busy spring so far. The end of the kid's school year is always busier than the rest of the year. This year with 4 schools, just means more events going on.
The big news is that I have been elected to my town Board of Library Trustees! This is especially exciting because our town was granted a new library, senior center, and conference center (3 connected buildings) by the Sterilite Corp.. The work on these buildings is still ongoing, but due to be completed this fall! Our town has needed a larger library for many years, and this is such a positive thing to be happening for us. We are all so excited. This does mean a lot more work for the trustees than under normal times. I am learning a lot fast, with so much going on.
Also, with spring finally here, there is a ton to do in the yard. We have cleaned out about half the gardens (we like gardens more than grass!), put to bed all the maple sugaring equipment, cleaned up the debris from our ice storm in December, and cleared an area to build a shed for our 14 year old to use. We have also opened the pool, and the new pump is cleaning it out as I write this!
We have also had a couple of big downpours of rain recently, which is good because around her we are actually low on water.
Here's to being able to enjoy the outdoors more and it's still not too hot and humid to breath!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It is a beautiful day here. The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and the sap is running! I do have one kid home sick today, but she isn't that bad. We have made around 11 gallons of syrup so far. It's looking like a good year!
Tomorrow my hubby and both sons are having their head shaved for St. Baldrick Foundation's cancer research fundraiser! Check it out at: stbaldricks.org. They are joining the group in Pepperell, MA.
Also, tomorrow we are going to tour a charter school in Fitchburg. We are considering sending our 7th and 8th graders there next year. With class sizes going up, closing schools, and so many changes in admin. every year, we are looking at other options. We'll see!
I started a new treasury at Etsy yesterday titled Pink and Green ..... Check it out at: etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=46408.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I made it on NECN.com Sky Scenes!

It's a little thing, but quite exciting.  I just checked out Matt Noyes' site and he used my shot of sugaring buckets on our maple tree in his Sky Scenes report yesterday, Thursday, February 19th!  I have found the page where you can view the report video.  Check it out @ www.weathernewengland.com.  He has my email name wrong, but that's ok.  It's actually mamomof5; ma, for Massachusetts, mom, of 5, meaning kids.  
I love photography and New England.  I am proud to show off NE at it's best with my photos.  And we are loving making syrup right now.  We moved our operation to our house (formally it was all at my brother-in-laws house, across town).  It is so much easier to have the boiling in the yard.  Still able to take care of kids, homework, housework, and our animals right here.  Also, getting meals while we spend hours collecting sap and boiling it down into syrup, is so much more convenient here at home.  I think it's pancakes for dinner!

Take care all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's sugaring time!

My family has a great hobby tapping the maple trees this time of year to make maple syrup!  We have put in 72 taps and buckets in our neighborhood.  In the past we have used a sugar house at my brother-in-law's farm, but this year we moved the operation to our house.  It is being a lot of fun to have it all here.  We have collected around 70 gallons of sap so far and started boiling it down two days ago.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!  Last evening we had the first taste of syrup.  We have boiled about 16 hours so far.  We strain the sap, put in a preheater pan, then slowly add it to the main pan.  The main pan has "lanes" which the sap goes down as the sugar content is concentrated.  Once in the last "lane" it becomes syrup.  Of course, one of the best parts is testing it to see if it is syrup yet!  There is nothing like that real maple syrup taste, with a hint of smoke from the wood fire that made it.  In past years we have made as much as 14-15 gallons of syrup.  It depends a lot on the weather though.  The perfect weather is cold nights (below freezing) and mild days (above freezing).  This makes the sap travel up and down the tree.
I grew up on the fake stuff from the grocery store.  It only took one taste to be a maple syrup snob!  Sugaring is my favorite farm activity.  Seeing as I didn't grow up on a farm, but my hubby did, I have learned a lot.  I will include a couple of shots of the buckets on our trees at the bottom of my blog page.  Check them out!
Take care!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Special Delivery - Etsy Valentine Card Program!

Good day to all,
I am happily a member of Etsy.com.  They are sponsoring a wonderful program in conjunction with Citymeals-on-Wheels in NY.  Folks at Etsy are sending in Valentine's cards to be included with deliveries on Valentine's Day.  I have sent three cards in myself.

I wish one and all a nice Valentine's Day!  

Monday, January 19, 2009

A new treasury to honor my rabbit!

Happy New Year to all!
I keep hoping that 2009 will turn my families bad luck/curse around that has been hanging over us for some time now.  My kids are doing well, thank God!  My daughter is doing better, even though they don't have a clear reason why she keeps getting sick.  She is on a few meds and they seem to be helping.  She made three whole school days last week.  
We have had a fairly nice three day weekend, until my husband found our bunny dead this evening.  Yes, the one in my photo!  We got him in September as a rescued angora rabbit from a 4-H friend.  He was lovely and loved us.  He was huge, fluffy, and fun!  I will admit that I am not the biggest animal lover.  Not that I don't like animals, but I don't have the energy to care for them with five kids.  I fell in love with this rabbit, Nimby, as soon as we got him here.  I didn't mind getting covered in fluff when I held him, or having to check on him in the cold to make sure he had water that wasn't frozen.  I took him scraps on a regular basis, and loved to just go out and say "hi" to my friend.  He was only one year old.  I will miss my friend!

On to a new day, hopefully with the sun shining.