Tuesday, February 18, 2014


 I never made it down to the Sugar Bush for the Presidents Day weekend.

This weekend we blocked up the interior of the beautiful fir frame that Marty built for around Susie's bakers table. 

A little nip and tuck here and there and Dr.  Martino had the frame secure and in place.
 Both Marty and Susie checked out the installation in their own ways.
 Actually we all had one to celebrate before heading out to catch Joe and Vicky Price down at Kyles Tap.
 On Saturday Susie and I started what we thought, would be a quick little project.

Well, it took about four time longer than what we planned.  But....

We're really happy with the final product.

 This mornings SunDogs arose from the President's Day snow storm.

They followed the deep furrow of the tractor tire in the new fallen snow  like the Bobsledders that we've been watching in the Olympics.
 So, after school today I got started on my own trail down to the sugar bush.

It's kinda like spring training.  It certainly makes for a good work out hulling gear in and out several times a day once the season gets rollin.
 With deep snow it was slow going but it was good to be back in the timber on a day when the temperature was above freezing.
 It was time to drill a few holes and drop in a few spigots into some maples and see how flows over the next few days.
 One done...about 5 dozen more before I'm finished.

I guess now would be the time to make an open invitation to any one who would like to drill a few taps by hand...to swing on by and give it a try.
So... How deep is the snow?
The spring flow still seems a little ways off.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Is In The Air!

 Happy Valentines  Day to one and all and especially to the LOVE of my life Susie!
We.re gearing up for another spring of making that sweet maple syrup. Continue to check back regularly to see weather updates for our area, as well as regular updates on how our sap run is progressing.  Short and long term weather forecasts are one of a syrup producer's best tools to help them prepare for a sap run. Cold nights below freezing with daytime temps above freezing will always get that sap moving. In addition, a falling barometric pressure that accompanies an approaching storm will also increase the local sap run.   Weather conditions in our area look favorable for the rest of the month, but there are several days in the forecast that will be over 32 degrees. For larger operations I would suggest to start getting your equipment ready, as I think the start to the 2014 season may be as early as this weeekend. For small producers, my best suggestions is, as always, to tap just one or two trees and then watch and wait - when they start to let loose, tap the rest of them.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


 In the valley East of Andrew some Mennonite Boys have been working all winter on an ice skating rink.

Not to be out done, the B0Bs got together for an ice extravaganza.  BoB's on Ice II...Fire and Ice.

The plan called for an outdoor hot tub constructed of straw bales and tarp, heated with a 55 gal. drum.   

 Rodger and Zac stoked the fire and warmed up their stones.

 Scott prepped the ice,  smoothing out the rough spots with a little fire.

 Let the games begin....

Scott and I were matched up against Richard and one of the fellows from the Davis Family Band.

Even under these conditions the work of a good brooms man and mean the difference between a point and a poorly slid stone.

Matches continued into the evening and even though the day time temperatures never climbed above 12* F  everyone  enjoyed being outside  celebrating the Olympic spirit.

It's all in the form.

When it came having the game figured out, Greg had the form.

With a leg guard on the right knee,  Greg would slide 10 M. before releasing his stone.

 Amazing firenado!
 BoB always tends to up the ante when it comes to reindeer games.

 The boys always strive to make the guests happy.

There was plenty of food.  I made a crown roast of wieners, with rosemary fried tators, bacon and bacon cheddar cheese.  I fired up the grill and grilled up a Jackson county brown trout and a pheasant.  Susie made some great carrot cake cup cakes to die for.  Rodgers step father made his chilli.  Jose made brownies and the boys grilled up seven more pheasants and some french bread.
The upper deck had another fire going too.
 Moose and Gina teamed up against Super Bob and Greg.

Moose's broom work coaxed the stone dead on the button.
 And raised his hand in victory.
 The lighting of the Olympic to torch pretty much ended as most folks expected....
With the Hot tub burning to the ground.

I guess we won't be having any diving events this year!

Sunday, February 2, 2014



 Yesterday was the IDIDARIDE Iowa's  East Coast answer to the BRR Ride.

I thought some zip ties would help customize my slicks for a little more traction in the new fallen snow.
 By the time we had reached the Track Side bar all the zip ties had popped off.

That's what I get for buying the cheapest zip ties I could find.
 The riding conditions weren't the best but I wasn't too long before we had made it to the first roadside stop at a rural cemetery.
 Matti and the rest of the Davis Family Band took on the added chore of hulling two trailers.

One was loaded down with split fire wood and the other with a portable fire pit.

 B0B got hydrated and warmed up by the fire and then we were ready to move on down the road to the next stop.
 Good sunshine and little to no winds made the low air temps bearable.
 Epworth and Farley both provided warm gathering spots to kick back, watch the basketball games, USA vs Korea soccer and have a cup of piping hot homemade chicken noodle soup.
 We also made some plans for next weekends Curling event,  B0Bs on Ice II.

Greg was geared up and ready to ride.
 When it's winter in Iowa you can either hole up inside the house by a nice fire or get together with some friends and do something outdoors.

Cross country skiing, hiking or taking the dogs for a walk it all helps to make winter more enjoyable.

Keep the home fires and the  portable fires burning!
 Here's some more stuff that makes Iowa a great place.
Home to the most crooked street in the world, the largest strawberry and the biggest bullhead fish head statue–Iowa, “America’s Heartland,” has a reputation for being boring. Although, many residents will genuinely dispute that. One of them being photographer Sandy Dyas. She’s been journeying through her home state of Iowa for years in search of the complexities in the oft overlooked midwest.