Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Competition has been ferrous along the trout streams of Jackson County for the best water cress cutting spots.

Fortunately, the other day I was able to snap a quick shot of the hillbilly in his natural habitat gathering greens to go with his tubers.   From the look of his teeth and sturdy build it appears that he didn't miss too many meal over the winter months.

Word of warning.  When your out,                                               keep your eyes and ears open.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Two interesting home construction.  I've been watching these projects progress over the years.  First the barn converted into a home on the right and the huge structure to the left.  Today I noticed the tree house.  Creative parents produce creative and interesting children.

Here's a sharp old brick school house that's used for farm storage.


Beau an a 32 lb. 58 in.   Paddle fish.
 Tagged Paddle fish.

Nice Brown Trout.


Mother passed last night.  After an afternoon of playing bridge on St. Patrick's Day.
Joyce passed in to everlasting life.  God Bless Her Soul.

Friday, March 18, 2011


                                                          pot of curry on the stove

                                                            Maya helps gather the sap.

I love having young children get the opportunity to hang out in the timber, exploring and learn about the history of maple syrup production and how the Indigenous people were first to tap trees, inserting hollow reeds, letting the sap drip into troughs and boiling it down over a wood fire. The process isn't much different today, except most people use metal taps, plastic tubing and buckets or plastic bags to catch the sap.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


 If I can get out in the timber and gather up the wood I will have enough sap for one more batch.  Plus I've got plans for Beau and I to go paddle fish snagging below the lock and dam on the Mississippi River before I can get out in the timber.
Several full bananas are hanging from the trees which need to be emptied.
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to have several visitors out in the sugar bush.  On Saturday Ryan and Roger came out and helped hull wood and gather sap.  Then on Sunday Mary and Clayton brought  some friends by for a sap/tea party.

Soccer season started this week with warm weather.  50 +  boys signed-up.  We'll see what the count is after 3 weeks of conditioning. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Looking forward to another good weekend down in the sugar bush.  Last weekends sap boiled off to about 2 quarts.

Several visitors stopped by to help and socialize as the snow squalls rolled through the area. Its been a good week for the sap to run, this afternoon i'll start boiling it down and continue through the weekend. I hope to get out to some of the neighbors to see how things are flowing too.

Friday, March 4, 2011


For the next few weeks I'll be spending a lot of time down in the sugar bush. I have a realitivly small but manageable maple syrup operation. Maybe a half a dozen families in the area are taping trees and only one has set up individual lines to each tree for collection purposes.

The rest of us are using tree spiles or spigots but even copper tubing works well.

Last nights collecting was most enjoyable. 15 deer in the hay field running in circles like crazy for more than a half hour. They've apparently got spring fever too. Followed by a canadin goose fly over as a dozen geese came off our neighbors pond. It's early so I only collected about 20 gallons of sap. I will boil that down to just under 2 quarts of syrup.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Last June my wife Sue and I traveled to the last hand-built home of Helen and Scott Nearing, which is located at Forest Farm in Harborside (Brooksville), Maine on five acres of forested land overlooking Spirit Cove.

The Good Life Center's purpose is perpetuate the goals, philosophies, and lifeways of of the Nearings.

We found it inspirational to walk the grounds, tour the house and even sit in Scotts chair.

 Susie in the lupines overlooking Orr Cove.
Lichens on the roof of the yurt.

Reading a passage from The Good Life in the wooden yurts, a form of architecture that he adapted from Mongolian culture.
One of the Good Life Centers volunteers gave us a tour of the gardens and the the house.

The oak strips are so much nicer than the bent pvc pipes that I'm using for my low tunnels.


Wooden bowls, spoons and other kitchen utensils line the walls of the kitchen area.

 The living room, its book-lined walls interrupted only by a panoramic view of rugged Maine coastline.

Since part of the Nearings’ philosophy was to avoid the use of and dependence upon money, they ate primarily what they grew–vegetables flourished all year in their solar greenhouse. They also believed that the day should be divided into two main four-hour periods — one for ”bread labor” and the other for pursuing other meaningful activities such as playing the violin, reading, and writing. Alone and jointly they wrote 16 books on such diverse subjects as maple sugaring, homesteading, and political economics.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On Thin Ice

Curling on the Mississippi was a great success.

A good number of folks came out to enjoy the day as the snow came down and temperature hovered just above the freezing point. BOB provided entertainment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


For me, maple sugaring is a passion that satisfies my need to be involved with the earth and a part of the natural cycles of nature. In the early spring, when the days grow longer, the sun feels stronger, and the snow gives way to bare ground, there’s a smell in the air, it’s intoxicating ... a smell that says winter is over and the sap is about to flow.

Waiting for that first sign of sap is an anxious time for me, the soccer season is going to start soon and march madness is just around corner.  You may be ready, but nothing happens until nature says it’s ready  Sometime in late February or early March, when temperatures still drop below freezing at night, but daytime temperatures top forty degrees, the sap starts to move in the trees. Then, on one bright sunny morning, it begins to drip from the spouts and sugaring season is underway. Hard as it is to predict when the sap will start flowing, it’s easy to determine when the season ends. As soon as the buds come out on the trees—usually by mid-April—it’s all over. “The sap turns yellowish,”. “It tastes bitter and smells like old socks if you boil it.”
Tapping trees and making maple syrup is satisfying.