Update from Projectville

In the spirit of Team Earth, here’s an update on various projects mentioned in previous blogs.

After my Cassandra-like blog about global warming weather, we experienced several weeks of freaky sub zero cold spells. Yesterday, however, the temperatures went above freezing again. We got out our maple sugaring equipment and Jim, Will, and I went off to tap the small sugar bush in Meriden village where we gather our sap. The ancient mother Maples were in excellent spirits. It was a lovely reunion of old friends.

Maples have so much love to share. I feel lucky to visit with them every day during sugaring season. Even with a north wind blowing, it was warm enough for a good run. As we put in each tap, sap gushed from the holes. This afternoon we will make our first collecting run and then perhaps do our first boil tomorrow. It’s about two weeks later than our first run last year, but in the realm of normal for timing. Maple sugaring season is a notoriously quirky thing with strange beginnings, strange endings, and strange middles. I will look forward to sharing endless amounts of musings, data, theories, prognostications, and folklore with you this sugaring season!

This “dashboard” place, where I write the blogs, says I have comments to moderate before posting. I have asked Ben a couple of times to tell me how to do this. As when one tries to scratch a diamond with a crayon, his infomercials are not denting the surface of my brain. This is my problem, not his, and I will work on listening better. In the meantime, I appreciate your e-mails to our regular e-mail address (green.hope.farm@valley.net). Thank you for all the wonderful comments and questions. They have been fabulous springboards for blogs. PS to Vicki, I WILL get to your question about gophers! I promise!

Still good, still better than the rest of our lunches. Last week, she finished out her work week with a lunch of mesclun, delicately sliced radishes, red pepper slivers, cherry tomato halves, medallions of roasted chicken with a drizzle of goddess dressing plated on an elaborately carved green oval ceramic dish. Yes, Deb brings her own dishes to plate her lunch with everything packed in the most charming wicker basket. If you had her pottery collection made by husband Ara, you would bring your own ceramics too.

You have already heard about my Knitting Olympics asterisk victory. Willy had to show further patience this week when I took further time out from his afghan project to knit a pair of socks and finish a baby sweater for Yessenia’s baby shower. This shower is tomorrow. Miraculously, the sweater is done and wrapped.

Jim finished phase #1 of his pantry project with minutes to spare before returning to his sixth grade classroom. It is amazing to have all this beautiful space for food and to actually be able to find food products when I look for them. Bravo Jim!!!!! Sadly, all the different kinds of muffins I made last week to celebrate the ready access of supplies were gone by the time Jim got home from school.

I hope that this blog has a photo of Will tapping a maple tree on it. If not, Ben and I will go back to the drawing board tonight. I am determined to figure this out before Yessenia’s baby shower so we can post a photo of the event. I also have an award winning shot of the view over the abandoned TV dish to upload from my digital camera ( sounds like I know what I am talking about, doesn’t it?)

Ummmmm maybe I never mentioned this project or the next one, but I thought you’d like to know. We have finished the outside of our dollhouse kit down to the very last log siding piece and roof shingle. Willy and I decided to temporarily rest on our laurels before decorating the inside and have moved in all our dollhouse furniture. The unfinished rooms sort of remind us of the first two, make that five, no better say fifteen years in this house.

Vintner Ben is on his third batch of homemade wine, made from several wine making kits. When he moved out of the house, I envisioned that his bedroom would be a guest room but instead it is a guest room/small winery. Jim’s mom really enjoys that fermenting smell when she visits. Its very, what can I say, pungent. We have ordered grape vines hybridized by the University of Minnesota for planting in part of our hayfield this growing season. This will really irritate, I mean, interest the farmer who hays our field. A small vineyard….. yet another obstacle to mow around!

We hope to spend the next few years figuring out what kinds of grapes will thrive in our a) inhospitable or b) bracing climate. Note: Half glass full answer is bracing. Half glass empty answer is inhospitable. Once we have established which varieties are hardy here, we will plant enough for Ben to entertain guests and foreign dignitaries. In the meantime, we are going to prune the heck out of our Fredonia grape vines in the Arbor Garden to see if we can bring in a crop of grapes large enough for a grape stomping vino making party.

All here. I usually start a bunch of seeds around the time of New Hampshire town meeting. That would be next Saturday. Emily has her high school spring break this week. She sorted seeds all morning. Had a lot to say about the logic of my sorting systems. The seeds are now MUCH BETTER organized, alphabetized, and ready for us to start using. Thank you Emily! The green house is also ready. It’s a wonderfully hot, bright haven of blossoming tropical Flowers. Next week, there will be new babies in there too. Yahooo!

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