March 13, 2012

Maple-y things (and other things)

You will all be relieved to know that our rat creature has vacated the premises. Or died. Not sure which. But it doesn't smell and it doesn't wake me up at 2 AM. I am not too interested in the particulars beyond those two things. It helps that it is close to 60 degrees outside. The scrabbling around was definitely worse on nights that were zero. Last week, Justin was in Syracuse working with Evan, so I had to be brave and bang on the wall a couple times a night all by my lonesome. The first night, I didn't hear it at all, which made me think it had left or died. Then I remembered that the night before it had been really lethargic. Justin told me it was probably stuck in a stud bay and starved to death. So I spent all of last Monday feeling sympathy with this fellow creature who was only trying to live the life it was given and thinking further philosophical rat thoughts. That night, my disgusting fellow creature woke me up 4 (FOUR) times. And then I wanted it dead. I was quite merciless about it. That is how most of my philosophical moods go. I spend awhile thinking deep thoughts and complimenting myself on how deep I really am. And then reality intrudes and my philosophy flies out the window. Fortunately, I do not have a good memory for this sort of thing, so I never have to remind myself how pompous and ridiculous I was in thinking all that nonsense. Except about child birth. That is vivid in my mind. The whole telling people who have been through it that I didn't understand how someone could have an epidural or pain meds when it makes the baby so lethargic for the first few hours of life. And other superior I-clearly-have-never-given-birth-but-have-a-lot-of-theories moments that are too shameful to bring to mind. I pack them away in the section of my brain reserved for such moments. When I get Alzheimers at 72, I will probably only be able to remember my suppressed memories of getting my come-uppance. I will wander around the nursing home apologizing to everyone for thinking I knew more about childbirth than they did. And for not writing them back within a week 50 some years earlier. And for thinking I was superior because I didn't struggle with what they struggled with. And since everyone there will be slightly senile, they will thank me for my apologies and feel superior. I will be a joy at 72.

Since Justin was working in Syracuse, I was on my own last week. I don't like it. At all. I feel like this blog is in grave danger of becoming some sort of confessional of all my weaknesses if I don't be careful. But really, not liking to be alone and not liking to deal with rodents can sort of both be shoved under the general heading of Inability To Deal With Real Life Situations Without Making a Great Deal of Fuss and Bother About it. So for my ego's sake, I will just pretend that actually I have only one general weakness. Everyone has one weakness. The fact that my one weakness encompasses 73 other weaknesses is just.... well... convenient.

JoAnna was here for the week last week and Lindsey was here the two weeks before--both being examples of capable, independent women. So I felt challenged to behave like a rational, capable, independent woman too. So I tried. But I was glad to see Justin when he and Evan came back up Thursday night to boil sap on Friday. I am just not sure I AM capable and rational. Especially after last night, when Justin left again and I had to talk myself out of a panic attack or two when the house creaked itself to sleep around 11 PM. The first night is always the worst. And listening to Laura Ingalls Wilder tapes makes me feel even more incapable when Ma took care of life, bears, grasshoppers, no water, and then sat up late into the night waiting for Pa who may or may not have been attacked by a bear on his way home to get home. As I imagined all sorts of human horrors who could have suddenly appeared in Moira and in particular, my living room, my rational brain kept telling me to remember the pioneers. I got up twice in the night with the kids and somehow life isn't as frightening once I have been to sleep and have woke up again without actually having been murdered in my sleep. It is reassuring.

Yesterday was Evan's birthday. Over the weekend, the sap had run well, so Evan decided to come up to help boil it. And since it was his birthday, Clover and the kids decided to stick with him and come up too. It was sunshiney, 60 degrees, with an underlying smell of sweet maple-ness floating in the air from the sugar shack, happy/muddy cousins, and the promise of birthday cake after supper. All this richness just after two weeks with Lindsey, followed by one week with JoAnna. Life doesn't get much better.


Boiling sap is hard. Notice the "Sap Heads, LLC" sign in the corner, present from Evan's dad.


Believe it or not, they were discussing cake decorating.


Mom's daylilies coming up


It was that kind of warm, sunshine-y day. 


Orianna and Cheyenne waiting to decorate the cake Cheyenne made for Evan


Doing taxes. The other end of the table was having ALL the fun yesterday.


Elliott and his gingerbread


Playing on recliners. The cool thing to do.


Getting ready to decorate.



A very serious business


Then the kids who were not allowed to help Cheyenne decorate were allowed to decorate plates and dip pretzels in the icing. Oh yeah, we are that kind of mothers. Icing as afternoon snack--perfect! 



The finished product and the birthday guy. We had to take the cake down to the sugar shack where they were finishing off the syrup



It was quite the par-tay.


Boiling sap and almost syrup





Gilbert doing his happy clap


Enchanting outfit. After getting mud clear up to her knees, Rilla had to wear red overalls that were being handed down from Gilbert to Lincoln. They were capris on Rilla. And then she tied the look together with a pink flower be-decked tutu and red boots. She knows her fashion. 

Sunday night, we enjoyed the last hour of daylight by collecting sap. 


Cody bringing back the tractor


Gilbert and Lily getting a 4-wheeler ride


Orianna driving the 4-wheeler


Lily







It is a hair rising ride into the maple trees they tapped in the woods



Camera's don't really understand taking pictures in the woods at dusk











This is blurry, but it was a really cool picture. Venus and maybe Jupiter through the maple trees.

And since this is mostly about sap, I will put up the pictures of boiling last Friday


The sugar shack with steam rolling off


The overfilled creek


Justin trying to get the cupola to dry the smoke and steam up right


Because it was REALLY steamy in there!



JoAnna showing off the latest in maple syrup production wear


Gilbert loved hanging out with Daddy after a week without him!

1 comment:

Connie said...

Love all the pics- your kiddo's are so cute!Gilber is getting so big- he and Lily look the same size in the one pic! I completely feel you as far as the whole not exactly being the strong independent woman type. Don't get me wrong. . .when it comes to being outspoken, expressing my opinion and such I am very much my own person. But at the days end, all I want to do is give my kiddo's goodnight kisses and snuggle up to my honey. When he's gone it feels like a piece of the pie is gone. We were laughing the other day when he came back because even after a couple nights away we actually really missed eachother. And if I lived in the country like you I would be scared at night all alone. . .I freak myself out in the apartment and lock the patio door which is about 15-20 feet off the ground on the second and a half story (like Spiderman is going to web his way up and attack. . really Connie?!) But you know what. . . if I had to trade this live the vicarious life of a single, independent woman making a few hundred grand a year, I would be a very UNhappy and bored little lady. P.S: I'm glad that you no longer have a nasty guest living in your home. About time you kicked it to the curb. Rat soup for supper!