March Madness

I disagree with T S Eliot. April is not the cruelest month.

At least in April you believe in spring, even if you know it will be cruel. In March, you believe only in March.

So, when the March weather turned predictably ugly again, we did what everyone in public education in America does. We spent the weekend fund raising.

Yesterday, it was a big fund raising dinner and auction for William’s seventh grade. They are trying to raise enough money to take a field trip to Montreal. This has involved selling wrapping paper, popcorn, and magazines door to door, selling soup and sandwiches at town meetings, selling candy at basketball games as well as selling babysitting services at any event where there are children in need of entertainment.

Frankly, William’s seventh grade class has more business experience than I had by the time I was twenty thirty, forty, fifty.

Will, Jim, and I were on macaroni and cheese duty for yesterday’s dinner. Along with some thirteen year old business moguls, we made four cheese Macaroni and Cheese for the 270 people who attended the dinner.

Here the moguls prepared to grate the cheddar. Getting a chance to wield a big knife in the kitchen is very motivating.

A victory celebration was held as the last of the 15 pounds of cheddar was grated.

10 pounds crumbled gorgonzola, 10 pounds grated parmesan, and fifteen pounds grated mozzarella at the ready.

With six gallons of milk we made a lot of cream sauce.

Then added the gorgonzola.

Then the cheddar and mozzarella.

We added three enormous trays of 30 pounds of cooked rigatoni.


Will did the final mixing before its was put in pans, topped with the parmesan and popped in the ovens.

Many hands made light work.


So some of the crew moved on to the ham part of the dinner preparation. Liz Taylor, who worked here at the farm for many years, now owns her family’s smokehouse. They provided the five hams for last night’s dinner. Liz had the kids pour maple syrup on the hams, also provided by Liz’s family who has a sugarhouse as well.

A nod to the vegetable kingdom was made with the salads.


With the macaroni and cheese in the oven and only a few needed for the hams and salads, the remainder of the crew was conscripted to cut brownies into 270 equal size pieces. Jim does the math to figure out how.

In the whirlwind that followed as we served the meal, my picture taking fell to the wayside, but I did get one photo of one happy customer, Will’s cousin Caroline.

And So We Begin

Yesterday, the Angels gave us the thumbs up. It was time to tap the maple trees for maple sugaring.


We greeted each tree as a beloved friend.

Our support staff for tapping was a bit thin on the ground. The Sheehan sugaring crew of yore is scattered to the four winds.

Just when the kids get big enough to haul the sap buckets, they get big enough to spend March in their own lives! Can you imagine?

Ben is off on a golf junket to Alabama for his spring break away from his teaching post. Lizzy is rock climbing in California for her spring break away from her teaching post. Emily’s spring break has come and gone and she is back in Maine, searching through snowdrifts for her lost cell phone.

William holds up the rear guard. Yesterday however, nothing could tempt him to join us in hauling sap buckets through snow drifts.

He noted that once we had trampled out paths to each tree, he would be happy to go on collecting runs with me. He will be as good as his word on this, because he actually does like the collecting runs.

But for tapping, it was just me and Jim.


And it was a lovely couple of hours.