April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
- not as daunting as it seemed! (if I can boil water, read a thermometer and light a fire, I can do this!)
- with kids it is more work, but more fun too!
- if boiling down sap alone outside with wood fire & a 2yo- request assistance :)
- save up milk jugs to use for storage and collection
- can bungee the jugs right to the taps (if no hose)
- south side of tree runs more -find healthy trees!
- a few trees is really all you need to start, even birch, walnut or boxelder too!
- store sap in refrig. in between collection days or pack in snow in a safe spot outside
- getting a fire lit w/o lighter fluid is the hardest part of the day
- look for a non windy day
- homemade evaporator is better than 4 gal. of evaporated water in the kitchen!
- heavy duty aluminum roasting pans work great = no clean up!
- large tin can (from fruit) works great as a ladle = no clean up!
- coffee filter works better than cheese cloth (lay inside a strainer with a handle)
- brush the surface with a stick of butter if sap's about to boil over
- this book is a great help! -practical, non-technical
- read aloud to the kids the story Miracles on Maple Hill during sugar season
- Definitely trying this again next year (maybe a sugarin' par-tay with friends!)
For our sugaring adventure intro post click HERE
Children should be brought up, too, to perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a tree, that a boy is born with his uncle's eyes, that an answer that we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not the less miracles because they happen frequently or invariably, and because we have ceased to wonder about them.
- Charlotte Mason 6/148
Think you, my lord, there is no sensation in being a tree?
feeling the sap in one's boughs, the breeze in one's foliage?
Crossing our fingers and hoping this works:
April 5 @ 7pm- Five taps set (28 degrees overnight temp)
April 6 @ 10am- checked trees but no sap yet (32 degrees)
5pm- checked again; half a gallon! (42 degrees)
April 7 @ 4pm- checked again, 3 gallons! (60 degrees-ish)
and still running...
We liked the info for tapping trees found here.
And a short how-to video for the kids here.
For our sugaring update post click HERE
His mercies are new every morning.
"... the elegant structure of the world serve[s] us as a kind of mirror,
in which we may behold God, though otherwise invisible"
"...hope is so natural and pleasant a feeling, that when they ventured to encourage it, it flourished and grew in their hearts till it created a sort of happiness of itself."
-Parables of Nature; Waiting
On a walk this week we made it all the way through our woods without needing the sled.
That was a first!
We breathed in fresh air and watched the rock doves circle and land atop the silo- their favorite spot, and then leave again cooing loudly. The 2yo tried chat with them.
We found bits of color and growth beneath the quickly disappearing white.
Mr. Robin greeted us with his melodious contented notes saying, "Cheer-up!"
We wrote him down in our Book of Firsts.
This is what rabbits do all winter to apple branches pruned in fall.
The slender branches must be sweetest.
Apple wood does smell lovely.
The blue jays have helped themselves to just about every last seed on the sunflower patch.
Picture study and most recent handcraft project- sewing a banner.
My heart was glad to hear, "Mom! This is SO fun!" 3 x's one day.
It's not because I come up with such 'fun' activities each week,
although he did learn to run the sewing machine.
It's because of the ideas are that are sparked by living books and the methods we use each day.
...Give the child delightful glimpses into the world of wonders he lives in, to reveal the sorts of things to be seen by curious eyes, and fill him with desire to make discoveries for himself.
- Mason 1/64
There is no reason why the child's winter walk should not be as fertile in observations as the poet's; indeed, in one way, it is possible to see the more in winter, because the things to be seen do not crowd each other out.
- CM 1.86
"The cattle mourn in corners where the fence screens them."
"The sun, with ruddy orb
Ascending, fires the horizon."
"Every herb and every spiry blade
Stretches a length of shadow o'er the field."
"The sparrows peep, and quit the sheltering eaves.
"The redbreast warbles still, but is content
With slender notes, and more than half suppress'd;
Pleased with his solitude, and flitting light
From spray to spray, wheree'er he rests he shakes
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice
That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below."
"When frost and snow are on the ground children have very festive times, what with sliding, snow-balling, and snow-building. But even on the frequent days when it is dirty under foot
and dull over head they should be kept interested and alert,
so that the heart may do its work cheerfully, and a grateful glow be kept up
throughout the body in spite of clouds and cold weather."
-Charlotte Mason 1.85
P.S. After some reading up on kids' cameras currently on the market, we decided on this model
for cost and quality. So far we're thrilled with it, and our rechargeable batteries have
super long life in this camera as compared to an older digital one we had.
I just wish it didn't come with 3 gaming options.
I'm re-posting from an old blog again. Enjoy!
There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh baked bread. Mmmmmm.....
We invited a lovely local bread baking expert to our TBG meeting;
she showed us a few tips and shared her love of baking.
We learned all about the grain of wheat and what the different parts of it are used for.
We learned all the nifty tricks and tools to use for mixing, kneading, and baking bread.
We made a basic loaf as well as a no-knead sweet loaf she called Challah.
She showed us how to make a beautiful braid on top of our sweet loaf
by folding over slices of dough to cover up the sweet sticky jam.
The church kitchen smelled amazing!
We were sure to share with the passersby in the hallway :)
Here and here are two titles she recommended for further learning and more recipes.
And a kids book about the history of bread in other cultures (with recipes.)
Doing a handicraft that you can eat too! is a big hit with the kids.
And there's just something wholesome about kneading a loaf between your hands.
"Let my words then begin in labor.
Let me sing a work song
and an earth song.
Let the song fall upon me as it may..."
Just a sampling of our full life these days. Thanks for stopping by!
I also wanted to share an interesting article on the Common Core standards
that are making their way through the nation's educational system.
I'm still learning about this topic, but find it fascinating to read how these new norms can be so quickly established and put in place, as well as what kind of thought went into formulating them.
I encourage you to take a minute or two and stay informed!