Thursday, April 24, 2008

So THAT's why we all have basements

I was just hanging out in the kitchen munching on some bread and getting ready to do a little baking. I heard this faint siren sound somewhere outside and it reminded me of growing up in Netarts with the weekly siren for the volunteer fire fighters. The siren would go off and all the dogs in the neighborhood would start barking and my grandparent's dog would come racing up the street and dive under our porch, cowering and trembling in fear. Ah memories.

My reverie was interrupted as Meg came bounding down the back stairs and knocked on the door. She poked her head in and told me they were all heading down to the basement because of the tornado siren. What!?!? That's a warning siren for tornadoes!?! What!?! No way!! I grabbed a sweater and some shoes and clomped down to the basement to hang out with Meg and Claire, who is home sick.

The siren ended shortly after that so we all returned to our warm apartments.

So that explains why every house around here has a basement...


April 11th - I peered into the seed starter tray and saw a tiny little sprout!!

Five days later five sprouts were up:

Yesterday I potted six that were getting too big for the sprouter. There are still two little ones in there and several more I'm still waiting on.

Those who are plant savvy might be thinking - "hey! those seeds you planted on the first day of spring were marigolds and these are NOT marigolds!" Well, you're right. The marigolds didn't come up, they were never meant to be. So I bought some nasturtium seeds because I love those too.

Jeremy and I just bought seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange: beans, tomatoes, chard, kale, herbs, etc. I've been working on digging up the garden space. We have a big 4' x 18' one in the back yard and a littler 2 or 3' x 8' in the front yard.

Just getting things ready though, we're not planting yet. I guess the last frost date is sometime around mid-May! In fact, they're calling for snow again this weekend. Hard to believe after the last three days have been well in the 70s and glorious. I suppose that will make all the Northwesters happy since they've been having bizarre frigid weather.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Over the weekend Jeremy and I went syruping in the Quaker Community Forest. This is a piece of land in Wisconsin past Monomonie.

Crossing the field climbing up the hill to where the syruping is:

The trees are tapped like this, with a tube either feeding into a large container like this:

Or sometimes running in various tubes down the hillside and dripping into this huge tub:

We kept these three pans full of sap, boiling away:

Maple syrup is made at a 40 to 1 ratio: 40 gallons of maple tree sap make one gallon of syrup. So we had to keep the fires burning and the sap boiling all day long.

There were a ton of dogs along for the day, but they weren't much help:

Jeremy and I took a brief break after lunch and I thought I'd climb a tree:

After boiling all day, we filled up jars with "half way there" syrup. Everyone took some home to boil it down even more. And voila! Maple Syrup.