March 28, 2011

Maple Sunday 2011

Joseph came for his third Maine Maple Sunday visit, this makes three years in a row so we believe it is officially a tradition. For those not in the know Maine Maple Sunday is the last Sunday in March where local farms in Maine open their doors to show people how they make syrup and sell pancakes. On the surface this sounds great, but in reality it is usually crazy-cold and there are big lines for pancakes. Note the line in the background.

So the way it works is one person stands in line for half an hour while Alden and the other adults go look at the animals in the warm barn. The barn had piglets this time which was very cool, as well as bunnies, chickens, cows, and turkeys

I think three years ago was near the end of the free-pancake era. Most places charge for breakfast these days. I can see the business logic to that, even though folks who attend MMS buy loads of syrup and syrup-related products. The place we chose this time charged $11 for a pancake breakfast which seems a bit much. Although you do feel like a rich how-de-do eating your pancakes looking out the window at the freezing bastards waiting in line to get in.

Of course, Alden loves the food (syrup) once he is inside, and really liked looking at the animals for 20 out of the 30 minute wait.

We may just go out to see the animals and buy syrup next year and then invite our friends over to our house for pancakes... we will see how we feel 365 days from now.

March 27, 2011

Bee Keeping

This December I decided I should try being an apiarist come spring. It made gift giving for the holidays easy for folks and I am still grateful for the great books my brother Geoffrey gave me and all other bee related monies gifted from many others once I read the books and figured out what I needed.

In January I signed up for a bee class that started in late-February that would fill in the gaps in on my knowledge base. The class will culminate with a package of bees arriving April 15 (thank you to Barbara and Ben for this.)

Last week Karen, Alden and I went to a beehive factory near Coopers Mill Maine and picked up Beehive parts.
The parts we got were enough for one colony of bees . Two deep supers and one medium super, with frames and wax foundations for them all, top covers and a screen bottom board.
The unassembled hives were stored in the basement for about a two weeks until I got around to building them. It was a good to wait because it was fun to do the project with Joseph when he came for his visit.

Like most of my projects, building the hives took longer than expected. Partly because I under-estimate this kind of thing and also because I am a perfectionist about things that probably won't ever matter. (In case you're wondering, Maker's Mark makes the assembly smoother.)
The boxes now need to be painted and then they can then be placed in the backyard.

March 16, 2011

Play Date

Alden had a play date at Sophia's house this weekend. She promptly took his hand and they disappeared into her room for a solid half an hour before Alden realized that there were no adults around and started getting nervous. He took a basket of plastic food out of Sophia's room down to the living room where we had gathered for tea and asked me to play groceries with him. I think Sophia was a little hurt by the snub. We eventually convinced Alden to resume a game of hide-and-go-seek with Sophia and they got back into the swing of things. It was really nice not to have to entertain a kid constantly or to be interrupted every 30 seconds with a gastronomic demand or ploy for attention. I got to talk gardens with Sophia's folks and enjoy some wonderful dal and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Yay play dates!

March 6, 2011

First Big Thaw

I'm not saying that Spring is on the way, but the past two days have been above freezing and we have lost about a foot foot of about the four feet of snow that is on the ground. Maine does this every season, a week or two of warmth in March to get everyone excited, followed by a cold snap and a mid-April blizzard. I will just enjoy the idea of spring for now.