Sunday, March 30, 2014

It Must Be Spring - Making Syrup

Shana and John decided to tap our two maple trees Saturday.  This was our first year tapping trees.  The next door neighbors are keen tree tappers and were very helpful getting us started on the road to maple syrup.  

By bed-time Saturday, we had a gallon or two of sap set aside.  We started boiling it down this morning, adding more sap as the day went by.  By 5:00 pm (and we started at 7:00 am) we had filled the mason jar seen in the photo.  By 9:30 we had another small jam jar full.  We are quite pleased.  Lots of folks complain how hard it is - hours of onerous boiling of sap only to come up with a pittance, but this seems like a fine amount of syrup for the effort.

On my walk this morning, I observed another sure sign of spring – the return of Red-winged blackbirds. My birding skills have atrophied to the point where I can’t say this is the first time I’ve observed them this year.  In the past, I was quite keen to note the arrival of certain migrating birds like the first sighting of a blue bird, or the familiar call of the Red-wing blackbird. 

Anyway, birding skills being what they are, I practically walked into several Red-winged black birds along the little pond at the park.  I believe the males come north first, staking out nesting territory.  They were calling and flying about the dead cattails surveying the real estate, and wondering when the hell the ice would melt. 

A few blocks from home I greeted a father pulling two little kids in a wagon.  They must have been on their way to the park.  I recall going to the park with our kids when we first moved here.  I felt sad thinking how time flies and kids grow quickly.  To hammer home the point, as I turned the corner I saw Maria come out of the house, get in the car and drive away.  Sigh – I bet she wouldn’t fit in a wagon any way.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bleak, Bright Spring

Here's a photo from the walking path taken today around noon.  It's getting warmer but when you look up at the trees, spring seems a long way off.   Of course it helps that half the trees in this photo are dead - the ones in back.  They died when what was once woods flooded to create a small swamp alongside the walking path.  Anyway - no trees are budding yet.

Today I learned the value of patience, of waiting - and perhaps even delay.  Without getting into the boring details I can sum the situation up like this:  Yesterday's crisis resulted in a quick untested fix that ended up breaking stuff we hadn't ancipated.  We spent most of today rolling back the changes and scrambling to set things right.

We're not done yet - but almost there.

Twenty-four hours later - countless person hours of work - and we are back where we started before we attempted to "fix" the problem.

My advice for the next crisis:  Stop, think, better yet, delay.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Look - a Worm!

Given today’s weather (cold rain in the morning, and now snow!)  it’s hard to believe that Spring is just around the corner.  

Fear not, there are signs that a new season is upon us – like this lone worm I saw when I stepped outside the building on my way to the dentist’s office. 

In addition to the worm, I heard these signs yesterday while listening to Pandora.

Within 30 minutes I heard both, You Must Believe in Spring, and It Might as Well be Spring

With signs like those, it can’t be long now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Have a Beautiful Day"

Here's the Dude and I waiting for his costume fitting in the many-mirrored fitting room of the costume shop at the Minnesota Opera Center.  He's one of the Knaben in the Minnesota Opera production of The Magic Flute.  It's very exciting for him - and the whole family.

How exciting is it to get your name on the cast list, and to have your own mail box at the Opera Center?  Just wait til he gets his back-stage Ordway pass.  It will be a crazy next few weeks.

We made it downtown in time for the fitting and found a place on a meter right outside the Opera Center.  I put a quarter in the meter - nothing happened.  It still showed "EXPIRED".  We decided to risk it, and went upstairs for the fitting.

We got out 20 minutes later to find the "meter maid" (aka Minneapolis Parking Enforcement Official) parked behind my car in the process of writing a parking ticket.  I went up to her vehicle, and greeted her.

"Is that your car?" she asked.  

"Yes," I said. "I put a quarter in the meter but nothing happened."

"Then have a beautiful day," she replied.  No ticket.

I think I will.