Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Sap is Running, a Little

Because we're having a warmer than average winter, or at least one a lot warmer than the previous 2 winters, Hal figured the sap might start running early. Consequently, he started tapping a few trees a couple weeks ago, and last weekend, he tapped the rest. This year we're using stainless steel taps that are easier to clean than the plastic ones we used last year. But I did clean 3 of those plastic ones so now we have 28 taps in red maple trees surrounding the house, about 15 more than we had last year. He's hoping we can get about 5 total gallons of syrup this year. Last year we got about 3.

This weekend we had temperatures in the high 40s and managed to collect nearly 5.5 gallons of sap even though most of the trees haven't started running yet. Hal boiled it down tonight in one of the sinks he built at the end of last season, and now he's heating the remainder on the stove in the kitchen. We should get about a pint from this. Can't wait to taste it.
Sap Boiler
This week the temperatures are going to be too cold but next weekend looks to be warming up again. Hopefully we'll have a nice long season, but if not, it will be good that we have those extra taps.

A Nice Breakfast

I decided to make some French toast this morning and then decided to add some eggs, over medium ,and some maple breakfast sausages. And of course, the whole thing was covered in our maple syrup from 2015. It was very, very good.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

It was a BIG Snow Storm.

The sun came out in the afternoon which was very nice, but the amount of snow was pretty incredible. I have no idea what we actually got, but I measured several spots and anywhere from 11 inches to 17 inches or more depending on where you stood. It was windy last night and remained windy most of the day. Here are a few photos all taken before noon.
My 12 inch ruler buried another 3 inches on the front deck
Blue Jays on the back railing
More blue jays
Luna and Ziggy at the end of the morning walk
Luna in the driveway, Ziggy's around the bend
After we came down the steps the first time
dogs in the driveway

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

We're Having a Snow Storm

The snow started around 2:30 pm, by 6 pm there were about 2 inches on the front deck. At one point they said 12 plus inches, then 8-12, they recently dropped it to 5-8 inches total. It was inevitable in a milder than normal winter, a snow storm would occur as winter is winding down. Not that February is that near to spring, and it's usually the coldest month of the year, but as I said, it's been mild, so I was hoping for that to continue.

Took the pups for a short walk before dinner tonight and managed to take a few photos.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

No Surgery for Ziggy!

I called the vet jut before 4 pm and talked to the doc. It took a while but the barium got past and then broke up the blockage and everything moved through. She had no idea if it was a "real" blockage but whatever it was it's gone, he's perky and seems happy and will be expelling some interesting colored poo for a couple of days. He's also on a boiled ground venison and white rice for a few days and then I can start adding his kibble back in. But NO goodies for a while. He isn't happy about that I am sure.

But at least I've got my boy back.

Ziggy's at the Vet

He wasn't interested in breakfast till I put some ground venison on top. Then he scarfed it down. A few minutes later he's crawling on top of me and having tremors and trying to bury himself into me. I got dressed, took him and Luna for a short walk. He marked his territory several times, but his tail was down, his ears back, and he showed no pep till I suggested we go to Mrs J's. He ate a biscuit there but instead of whining and barking for more he just sat down at my feet.

I called the vet, we got there at 10:30. The new doc felt a mass just below his rib cage. She took x-rays. His stomach is full, his intestines empty and there is some "thing" about where his stomach empties into his small intestines. So I left him there while they feed him barium to get better x-rays and hopefully push the blockage through. If it doesn't move he will be having surgery.

I feel awful, I am sure he feels worse. He had a deer bone a few days ago, I figured he buried it as it vanished fast. Now I am not so sure. He's also likes to root through trash and eat chicken poop. It's possible anything could be in there. But now I wait, I should know by 4 pm a little more than 2 hours from now.

I hate waiting.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ceiling Fans at the Ranch

This afternoon Hal and one of his brothers installed 2 ceiling fans at his parent's home. Unfortunately for him, he had to scrawl across the length of the house in the attic from the laundry room at one end to the 2 small bedrooms on the other. The overhead lights in the ceiling were not secured properly with metal boxes attached to 2 bys so he had to put in 2 x 4 spacers and when he tried to install the boxes they stuck out of the ceiling too far so he had to crawl back a second time after dinner and add some 1 by spacers.

There wasn't too much swearing but the house is kept so hot and working at the ceiling with arms overhead makes for uncomfortable work. However both are up and remarkably quiet, and nothing had to be re-balanced as was often the case in the past with fan blades. Here is a photo of one taken with my laptop so it isn't the best photo, but you get the idea.

Now we are relaxing with a Thunder Bay Winery blackberry wine and Lindt white chocolate. Heavenly.

Friday, February 12, 2016

I Made a Sock, and then Another Sock

More accurately, I made a Christmas stocking for one of my sisters who said her old one had holes in it from moths or mice, or some such critter. I can post this now because it's after Christmas.

I also made one for my future niece at the request of her future mother-in-law and her fiance. It may be hard to see but yes, there is a crocheted purple bunny sitting under the tree. I am told she loves it. Makes me glad. These are the first stockings I have made in a very, very long time. I suspect as babies are now being born into the family that there will be more. I already bought more yarn, just in case.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

And Now it's February

It's cold outside as it usually is for this part of winter, though not as cold as our previous 2 winters. Currently it is sunny and only 14.1 degrees. It's just going to to get colder through Saturday (this is Thursday) with a high that day of 5 and a low forecast to about -13. Chilly, but again, nothing like our previous winters. I can live with a few days of sub zero. Much better than weeks of it.

I've been keeping busy even though I spent all January fighting a sinus infection which I finally went to the clinic on Feb 1 to take care of. No amount of breathing steam and doing nasal rinses seemed to help enough. But I am much better now.

As I said, I have been keeping busy. Besides managing to walk the dogs 2-3 miles a day even in deep snow I've been sewing again, specifically quilt blocks which one day will be combined into a couple of quilts. Haven't done any quilting since I made the shades for the loft but it's been a great way to use up the little scraps left over from various projects, some of them decades old. I even dug into my meager unused cotton fabric stash to add some new colors. Had a yard or two of quite a few different prints, not enough for clothes but enough for quilt blocks which was the reason I originally bought them.
2 crazy blocks
2 crazy log cabin with 4 patch centers
Helped Hal stack some firewood today. He's been very busy these last few weeks building up our supply which was almost non-existent at the beginning of the year. Fortunately the incredibly mild weather, (40s)  we were having till about December 29th when we got our first major snowfall, required much less wood than normal.

This is a fairly rambling post which generally means I can't think of anything interesting to say and am only feeling guilty that I haven't posted much. So I'll end here before things get out of hand.