with our friend ellen for maple open house weekend.
this is the huge evaporator.
and here is the sap turning into the magical syrup.
to learn all about the process click here.
we met some really wonderful people...
turns out, the whole process is a very social time.
the fire needs to be stoked,
the temperature of the syrup needs to be monitored
and it's a 24/7 undertaking.
neighbors stop by to chat and there's lots of good food around.
we have lots of maples at a "bit of earth",
so maybe someday...
today, my friend liz and i went to the new britain museum of american art.
we went to see
"inspired innovations, a celebration of shaker ingenuity"
photos were not allowed in the exhibit,
so this picture of boxes, sold in the gift shop will have to do.
i have long admired the shaker legacy...
the simple beauty and practicality of the lives they led.
have you ever visited hancock shaker village in western massachusetts?
(where you can get a real sense of how
intentional and co-operative their communities really were.)
From the introduction to the exhibit's catalog,
It is the major goal of "Inspired Innovations:A Celebration of Shaker Ingenuity," to amply demonstrate that innovation is and has always been central to their way of life. The Shakers are consummate problem solvers. This legacy of finding or creating ingenious solutions to everyday challenges has, to a large extent, defined them as a successful social and economic experiment. However, a vital subtext of any conversation about Shakerism is the understanding that they are, above all else, believers--that every aspect of their lives is guided by religious principle. Ingenuity aside, the essence of Shakerism is a profound and all-encompassing spirituality. - M. Stephen Miller
two quotes, stenciled on the walls of the exhibit caught my eye.
The pleasure of doing good is the only pleasure that never wears out.
The lamp of genius burns as it is supplied by the oil of enthusiasm.
Martha J. Anderson
every once in a while, i just want to rest in the oasis
maybe someday if we win the lottery, we'll check it out. :-)
we found this little still life on a bench in the cook's garden.
lovely and vintage and better than new.
22,000 square feet...a full half acre greenhouse!
a sign reads,
"every inch of space, every seedling, every clump of soil
is intensely managed here 365 days a year".
poc choy and chard
not sure what this is, but it's gorgeous.
one of the working dogs.
a sweetheart of a pooch.
the place was crawling with young families,
with children who were delighted to be out in the sunshine,
running, climbing, squealing.
i think we were all taking in the wonder of the day,
and the beauty of the place.
hope springs eternal.
Last night, Gretta and I went with our friend, Liz, to hear Elaine F. Weiss speak about her book, Fruits of Victory, The Women's Land Army of America in the Great War. Elaine's fascinating slide show, filled with images from archives all over the country, showed the story of the amazing women, or "farmerettes" who worked on the rural homefront during WW1. The question and answer period afterward had folks wondering aloud about how this history might inform the current enthusiasm for the local food movement. I would be intrigued to consider its possibilities in peace time. This book is in my stack of spring reads!
This morning, Gretta and I are baking up a batch of muffins and we'll head over to our local CSA, so that Gretta can catch up with all her old buddies. The sun is shining, the temperature may flirt with 70 degrees and Mother Nature is calling us outside. This is my kind of Friday.
Hope you can get outside for a bit!
P.S. If you are a Henry fan, or a fan of the ginger cats in Wales, check this out and this, too.
a surprise in the mail from my son, stewart. he's a keeper, that one.
and gretta is home for a few days. for appointments, visiting, tech support for her marmie and some adventures. can you sense my smile? :-)
we have quite the spring gurgling up in our yard, and streaming down the banking. i'm guessing it's because the water table is so very high after all the rain we got this weekend. a very magical spot for little kids to play with sticks and wee boats...but we don't have any of those anymore...
i have done a 24 hour up and back trip to my brother doug and sister-in-law, ra's
bad driving in huge rain and wind.
classic rock on the radio. (riders on the storm by the doors).
dinner with a handful of relatives in honor of my cousin margda,
who lives in sweden with her wonderful family.
mardga was in the states delivering a paper at a conference,
and we were lucky to have an evening with her.
and this morning, doug made crepes, filled with vanilla yogurt
and sliced bananas for breakfast.
have i mentioned lately how i truly believe
that one of the most sacred and holy places in this world
is at a table surrounded by friends and family?
Last fall, I read about growing "local citrus" over at The Simple Green Frugal Co-op. I loved the idea so much that I went online to order a Meyer lemon tree, then learned that it's just not a great idea to ship citrus trees in the winter (duh!). A few weekends ago, I thought I'd try again, and this beauty arrived yesterday. Thank you so much, Thomas, for expanding my idea of "local"!
These little beauties, printed on repurposed balsa wood, came from petitleaf etsy . I love them! Hop on over to check out Elizabeth's shop. Elizabeth was our daughter Lindsey's college roommate, and she's a very crafty girl. The two of them do paper art swaps through the mail.
Batman and I became a bit giddy last week, when our package from High Mowing Seeds arrived. We opened it up and yearned for all the goodies that will be coming out of the gardens up at "a bit of earth" this summer. This seems to be a symptom many of us are suffering as we gaze out at the snow piles yet to melt on the north side of our houses!
I even have grass seed, planted in a rectangular, flat pan, germinating on a sunny windowsill. I've been doing this for years, and I know it's a little loony. I seem to need freshly growing green things just about now.
(And the light and love I had for breakfast yesterday followed me through the day....)
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