Can it be true? Did we actually manage to get something right this week? Both vehicles are dying, the dishwasher broke, I started a new job with 15 4 year olds buzzing around me, the bills are piling up, the bathroom ceiling began dripping furiously and we are STILL trying to expel the ghosts from the closets here but YES, sweet sweet victory is finally ours for the night. After evaporating for about 24 hours total on the cajun cooker, filtering last night, bringing the 2 gallons of dark liquid inside to the fridge today, and steaming up all the windows in the house tonight, we have made maple syrup. 38 gallons of sap gave us about 5 quarts of syrup! I would say it is a medium amber. It is absolutely delicious and perfect in every way. It is hard to absorb it all- the life blood of a tree. Today being the 5th day we were working on this project, we are both ready to pack it up.... however, we are tempted to do another boil this weekend. We already have about 25 gallons collected after the recent warm spell. It would be torture, but I am so tempted. BUT, it is really a priority to get my seedbed put together. So we will probably do that instead, our time being limited to weekends together. Not like the old days with us both scrounging around this place stealing each other's screwdrivers.
In other farm news: my starlings are back! (And lots of others, including the redwing blackbirds, which are the bird of spring!) I love their chatter as they talk lovingly to each other in the morning. They perch atop the bluestone chimney cap that Chris hauled up to the top of the kitchen roof last summer. They live in a lovely and perfect little circular hole in the wall on the woodshed where there once must have been a stove pipe. I have made this sign and hung it at the entrance to welcome them back.....
I've been quite introspective and contemplative lately, doing a lot of hard hard work to figure out what comes next. One thing is for sure, I will miss my sunny mornings in the kitchen reading Growing For Market and listening to NPR, going about my day in my own little hectic, then leisurely and then again frantic way. Stella misses me already after 2 days away. She didn't eat her breakfast until I returned today and asked with her eyes why the lady of the farm was away so so long. I already know after 2 days away that I need to try to get back to this farm somehow, some way. I need to find a way to make a living wage. I need to win the lottery damn it! Seriously, this is really heartbreaking for me. To smell the earth opening up today in the sun. To see my chickens pecking around at the waterlogged earth with joy and to see the dirt open up around the driplines of the spruce trees here, these signs have been how I judge time and place in my life for 3 years. I don't follow dates for planting, so much as know them all in my bones now. I saw a yellowed and puny little daffodil poking its head up near the little chicken coop door. I used my sore, cracked, arthritic hands to sift through the bits of rock and brick and dropped 50 bulbs in there 2 falls ago, knowing that I might never stay to see them bloom. I did it anyway. That is what we are and who we are and I appreciate every single day the work that John and Rebekah did here, not knowing if they would stay to reap the rewards or forever enjoy it as well. I appreciate every single rock dragged out of the fields with a horse in the lead, then piled neatly into the walls that surround us. So what will I leave behind?
And finally, I have found the woman that I would like to illustrate my children's books, once I have written them. I have an idea that I will write a little series on farm life for children introducing them to the major veggies, the major insect pests, the joys of the little things around the farm and lots of little life lessons to be learned from the farm. Her name is Patience Brewster and she doesn't know that I have chosen her yet and I have no idea if she would even agree. But go to her site and check out her vegetables and animals and tell me, are they not perfect? www.patiencebrewster.com