Thursday, August 28, 2014

Maple Syrup

We found out about being able to go to a Maple Syrup Farm and decided that would be a great, informational trip to take during their "open" season.

So on March 29th, we took off with Makenna (and a friend of hers) to the Maple Farm.  It was wet and muddy and I quickly found out that I had boots that had holes in them as my feet squished deep into the mud and felt that oozing go all the way to my sock.  Oh well - couldn't do anything about it then so I just kept going.

The guy who owns the farm actually lives outside of Syracuse and comes down to take care of the trees and the whole maple syrup process.  He was very informative about the process of taking care of the trees, to running the lines and checking the lines.  I'm sure Chris and I were more interested in the whole thing than the girls were but it was very interesting to hear about how much work actually goes into getting good maple syrup.  Now I know why it's so expensive!  Not that I want to pay the high price but I can appreciate why it is so high priced.

So here's the "old-fashioned" way that we picture when we talk about "tapping trees" for maple syrup - and they still do this to some extent but it's time consuming and not as efficient

Here's the new way - tons of tubes and lines with valves every so few feet that have to be at a certain drip rate.  Not only that but you have to check every tube, every valve, and every tree.  You have to make sure that the valve stuck in the tree is done right and still getting sap, and then you have to make sure the drip rate is constant but not fast.  Just imagine, this guy had acres of this all around - I have no idea how he kept it all straight.  Then he's planning on adding more.  Oh, you also have to cut down some trees so that other trees that seem stronger can get enough sunlight in order for it to produce enough sap.

Then it all flows down into this little shack (if you look to the left of the picture, you'll see a blue tube going into the shack - all tubes from the trees connect into this tube).

Which then dump into this vat and who knew (maybe you all knew but I didn't) - sap is clear and we actually could take a taste - it's just like sugar water.

It then gets heated to a certain temperature and turns into maple syrup.  I can't remember how many gallons of sap it takes to make one bottle of syrup but it's a heck of a lot!  So if there's not enough sun during the winter the sap production is low and then syrup production is low and cost is HIGH!

The girls liked the shop better - more things to physically see, buy, and eat!  They even had tasting samples of things made with maple - YUM!~


Back in December 2013, my brother Brant had a baby boy with his girlfriend - I know it was pretty close to Christmas time - guess I should get the official date if I was any kind of Aunt.

But in March (2014) he came for his first official visit - so he's probably about 3-4 months in these pictures.  He's so calm and good natured and my brother does a great job with him.  He looks SO much like my brother there's no mistaking it's his.

I hope I get a chance (or many chances) to babysit (hint hint)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Daddy Daughter Dance - Feb 15th, 2014 - "Great, Now I'm going to get Boobies!"

Near the end of last year I saw in this flyer about a daddy-daughter dance and I SO wanted Makenna to go - probably more than she wanted to go.

I had all these grand ideas about her getting all dressed up in a nice pretty fancy dress, getting her hair and nails done and having a fantastic time with her dad.  Something that's so very important to me.  My dad was "around" but not.  I'm not dogging on him, but I didn't grow up with a dad in the home (sort-of; a whole other story) - so I want her to have bonding moments and times with her dad and this was the perfect thing (in my mind,) to work towards that goal.

Well, we did get the beautiful dress, the nails done and hair done.  The problem was that it wore her out, I believe, to do this all day and then go to a dance.  She did go, and they had fun during the dance practice where they showed dads and their girls how to do certain types of dances and they enjoyed dinner but then when the real dance part came due - she was not into it and they came home early.  I think next year, if she goes, that maybe we'll just do something a bit more simple in the way of hair and nails - but it was nice to at least do it once as you can see from the pictures below (scroll to the end for an awesome story that happened though)

Makenna has never had her hair washed at a salon/hair place before so she was extremely uncomfortable with it and ended up with a soaking wet back as she kept picking up her head from the sink as it was being washed.

LOVED the curls!

This picture as it looks like she's a pro at getting her hair done

This picture screams "DIVA" to me

So while we were at the salon getting all this done, the lady doing her nails offered her a glass of lemonade (and me, but I said no thanks.)  So as time went on I got a bit thirsty and decided to take a sip of Makenna's lemonade, without asking.  As I put it down she resolutely stated, "Great!  Now I'm going to get Boobies!"  I was shocked and amused as the same time and said, "What!?"  She again stated, "I'm going to get boobies!"  When I asked her why she was saying such a thing out of the blue she said, "Because you drank my lemonade and now I'm going to get boobies!"  I was laughing and said, "I think you mean Cooties! Not Boobies!"  She said "Oh, yeah - Cooties."  I then proceeded to say, "Well, you are going to get boobies, but not because I drank your lemonade."  She then, in a fearful voice said, "Why?  What are boobies?"  I started laughing again and said that's a conversation for another day.

~SNOW~ (add your expletives as needed)

We had SOOO much snow this winter.  At least it seemed that way with all the shoveling we had to do.  It got so high on the sides of our driveway I couldn't even see to back-out the car.  It was also very cold and school was even cancelled one day because it was so dang cold!  That was a first that I ever recall.  It would get below zero then to have the winds blow and the kids standing outside waiting for school buses - they must have thought better of it.  But when it started to become "normal" they had no choice but to let the kids come to school.  Probably didn't want to waste too many snow days due to freezing cold!

Moving provided us with a hill to sled down though - so we took advantage a few times.  It was a bit of a shock for Makenna as she never really went sledding down a hill before and getting snow in the face was a bit of an icy eye-opener.

If you scroll through the sledding pictures fast you get the idea of her sledding down and crashing.

Well, at least we got plenty of opportunities to go sledding if nothing else! (these were taken on 2/5/14)


We won't even discuss the gap in time from the last post to this post!

Back in January (yes January 2014; even though it's now August 2014) - Makenna had her BFF from her "old" school come over for a sleep over.  It went rather well considering the mother was probably a bit nervous as we don't know each other all that well, but Makenna talks about her BFF all the time and how we "took her away" by moving. 

We met for bowling back on January 11th and after a couple of games of bowling these girls wanted to dance

Then on Jan 20th was the sleep-over and the next day included a tea party

You can only image the tears that followed when it was time for her to go home.  We were hoping to have more sleep-overs as the year went on (especially in the Summer) but it has yet to happen again.  Makenna did go to her birthday party in July.  I hope they can stay in touch but with time, things fade but I hope their friendship doesn't.