Monday, February 22, 2010

Maples are running!

I didn't  finish knitting my hat this weekend, but I did something way more fun.  We got a call from the Gorse farm that the maple sap started running on Friday so Mom & I went to see the operation.

This is a tapped tree by the house.  2 holes drilled with plastic tubing for the tap, and a hood to keep out rain, snow & squirrels.

The raw sap is collected in these large square containers until there is room in a cooking pan for it.

This is one of three cooking pans in the sugar shack.

I expected the air to be sticky and cloyingly sweet but it wasn't until Mr. Gorse stirred the 3rd-day pan that I could smell the syrup.

Other places online say that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.  Mr Gorse says that he uses between 47-49 gallons depending on the weather and density of the sap.

We brought home 6 of these (pints) which is a year's supply for us.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday...again already?

I've been spinning more of this.  I'm almost done plying the last of the ~12 oz. that I had.  Next there is about 8oz of pepto pink to spin.  By the end of the weekend I expect to  have my original design hat finished for the Ravelympics. 

Folklore & Phrenology Friday
We placed a call to the maple syrupers today but haven't heard back yet.  The weather seems just about right now.  Freezing at night and 40's during the day, but I don't know how long it will last.  More snow may be coming.  There is a hillpeople saying that if snow stays on the ground for 3 days it will be covered by another snow.  If that's right then we may be shoveling off the garden to plant this year. 
My family always planted lettuce on Valentine's Day.  I thought that it was typical but I can't find many other people mentioning it.  Certainly not on the squirrel's ear/oak leaf level.  Even though I am now only about 100 miles north of where I grew up I can't imagine planting in mid-Feb here.  And this year I have 3" of snow still to melt.  Instead I started some basil, cilantro, broccoli and microgreens under lights. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ravelympics Opening Ceremonies

and the real Olympics, too, of course.  I had planned to make a dog sweater but did not organize well enough and am now out of town without the pattern or yarn.  Instead I will try to finish a hat design that I've had in mind. I already tried it once with wrong yarn and too large needles.  It came out much like any first draft...if I was a drunken college student trying to finish on the last night of spring break. There's an event for original designs but I don't remember what it is just now. 
Blogging from a borrowed computer feels kind of like borrowing shoes.  They never quite fit.  Hopefully my computer will be out of the hospital and home when I return next week.

Snow has been  on the ground all week.  We got another 2-3 inches on Tues.  This is easily the snowiest winter I have ever known here in SE Missouri.  If it continues and is an especially wet spring I worry that we may have trouble getting the garden in.  The maple syrup tappers in MO say that the sap isn't yet flowing.  It has tol be freezing at night and 40 degrees in the day to flow.  Too cold so far.  I snapped a twig on our maple and got a bit of a weep but not a good drip. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Folklore and Phenology Friday, Feb 5,2010

I'm going to keep a weekly accounting of phenological events (events of nature that I observe) and post them on Fridays with timely bits of gardening or weather lore.  My Grandma Carter always liked to keep a 3 year diary and would note the weather on signifigant days, the date of bloomings, and the like.  For my garden's sake I'll try to be meticulous with plantings and insect arrivals.

Last week a very large flock of robins arrived on Friday and stripped the berries from the holly tree.  The next day all the berries and robins were gone.  I guess they were destined for northern climates.  They looked really fat.

"Go to the winter woods: listen there, look, watch, and “the dead months” will give you a subtler

secret than any you have yet found in the forest."

- Fiona Macleod, Where the Forest Murmurs

Here in Farmington it was cloudy on Feb 2, Groundhog Day.  That's supposed to mean we won't have 6 more weeks of winter.  The blanket of snow makes me doubtful.
If the sun shines on Groundhog Day;

Half the fuel and half the hay.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2nd & 3rd Big Fat Stockings

Only one more to go.  Next one is blue.  If I'm not too sick of making these maybe I'll make the momma one out of all the left-over colors.
I tried an afterthought heal with the green one and I think I like it best but with a rounded rounded toe.  Also on the top cuff I prefer adding a purl row between the braids because it lays flatter and looks full.  You know what they say... 4th one's a charm.