Finally getting back to the blog! Julia is back at school and I have been wrangling all the book-keeping requirements of having 2 businesses of our own. Glad that is done. I get so worked up over it all. But it is all put away until next year. Now back to the blog and the book and the sheep and the farmer's markets.
We have barely had winter here in western Massachusetts. After last year's horribly cold and snow filled winter, we were expecting the worst. But it barely happened. We shall see what next year brings.....
Over the past few weeks, the hills around here have been humming with activity in anticipation of the sap running. It has been a short season, I think. On Wednesday, it was 70 degrees and I fear that the sap has stopped until next year. Some of the trees are beginning to bud and there are signs of spring all around - like the birds coming back and singing their gorgeous songs.
|Sid's 250 gallon tank collecting sap from several maple trees|
Sugarhouse (sometimes called sugarshack) is such a strange concept for me as I didn't grow up where maple syrup was made. Now, I am totally endeared to the often homemade little buildings that dot the New England countryside. Many are abandoned because whoever was interested in making maple syrup is no longer around and their family members don't have the time or inclination to make it.
|The steam vent at Louis' Sugarhouse|
I love the fact that there are still many maple farmers in our town that are active in sugaring season. Although there are a couple big commercial sugarhouses, I'm partial to the little buildings that sit next to farmhouses or in the woods not far from them. They are bare bones basic - handbuilt with wood harvested on the farm. Often the tin roof is made of re-cycled bits and it seems there is always other "important odds and ends" sitting around near them - to be used in the future "if needed." (I live with a farmer who doesn't throw anything out - in case he might need it one day so I know all about this "might need it someday" mentality. Have you ever read String Too Short To Be Saved by Donald Hall?)
|Carl's Sugarhouse - Front View - notice the wood on the side|
|Carl's Sugarhouse - Back view - I love how it is set into the hillside|
|Carl's Sugarhouse - notice the sap tank at the left|
The treatment of Diabetes has changed so much over the years - all for the better. Julia has been on an insulin pump since she was ten and she manages it all herself. We just went to her 3 month check in with her doctor and her A1C (a number which scores how good you are monitoring and controlling your disease) was excellent. I am so proud of her and hope she will keep it up.
We love Julia's doctor and the incredibly helpful staff that works with her. She keeps asking the doctor about all the latest changes and possible treatments and cures. This appointment Dr. Allen told us that there is even more progress towards an insulin pump working with a cellphone to read real time glucose monitoring and dose insulin automatically via pump. It is only a matter of time which is pretty exciting if you or a family member is living with this disease.
We were talking about the day in November 2004 that Julia was diagnosed with Dr. Allen today. When we got home from the doctor, loaded with unfamiliar supplies including insulin, needles, prescriptions, testing supplies, and nervousness to boot, there was a package waiting for Julia. In it was "Kit" - an American Girl Doll sent from her grandparents. Kit was such a great distraction for Julia. She went everywhere with Julia for a very long time. I only bring this up because if Julia were into Kit now, her doll would also be able to wear an insulin pump and be diabetic. The American Girl Company responded to this diabetic girl's campaign and has put an entire diabetes wellness care kit into production. Kudos to them for helping young people living with a disease know that they aren't the only ones.
So in closing today's sugar post, I share this video that Julia and I love from Maroon 5 called Sugar.
Have a great weekend everyone!