It’s just a date on the calendar but that doesn’t stop folks from enjoying any temperature above freezing in New England and picturing how green everything will be in a few weeks. That’s a stretch because right now the landscape is still painted in wheat and burnt umber with several shades of grey. Hard winds swirl old leaves into the air making our cat crazy wondering what the faluke is going on outside.
Early spring up here means corn fields turn into rice paddies, mud season has begun and frost heaves finally dissolve leaving pot holes and large tarmac cracks. Along with crocuses pushing up through slow melting snow piles, the only thing budding on a tree this week would be a plastic container catching sugar drips from the maples.
We’re still grateful for the extra daylight because it’s pretty hard seeing where the road sides are located in the dark. Many of the white stripes painted along the edge have long dissolved making it impossible to see where the fields begin and the road ends, especially in the rain.
The people at the humane society also tell us there’s more stray animals giving birth about now. Soon they’ll be flooded with all manner of baby felines and canines in their wonderful shelter. Please try and remember them when you have old blankets you no longer need or if you are considering getting a pet.
Spring cleaning is still big in some homes. Windows have to be washed because the winter storms plaster a combo of crud that makes it hard to see the sunny views we’ve so missed.
We have a nutty bird who insists on building a nest in a space between the roof and a column on our front porch every year. My cat sits right inside the screened-in porch and stares at the creature who is so stubborn, no matter how many times Jack throws out the old nests, or how many times I scream when we surprise each other, I know she’ll be back in that same spot very soon.
I can’t wait until the buds show up on our forsythia and azalea bushes. They will explode into the most beautiful mélange outside my living room windows. I’ll be sure and post photos when that happens.
About last week’s blog…..
The Union Leader in New Hampshire published “Maple Beyond The Morning” in its’ Wed. issue. Benton’s sugar shack has been producing maple syrup for 150 years! It is now being operated by the sixth-generation family members!
To the reader who wants to know about obtaining great maple syrup in southwest Virginia. I found The Bland County Family Farm, which has had ten years of tapping in that area. Their web page is: http://www.Andersongrassfed.com as they also sell beef.
Hope you are all enjoying the “pre spring” landscape and warmer temperatures wherever you may be.
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Friday, March 19, 2010
You can tell it’s spring by the jugs hanging from sugar maples that pervade the New England landscape. Sugar, stored in the roots in the fall, would drip into wooden buckets when the Algonquins first introduced it to colonists in the 1600’s. The Indians showed the new inhabitants how to make a hole in the tree, stick a wooden spout in the hole and hang a bucket on the spout.
This process could continue for several weeks until the weather got warm enough to reduce the sap’s sweetness. The Algonquin’s then showed the Colonists how to cook the liquid over a fire, boil off some of the water and let the remainder “caramelize” into a delicious syrup.
Today, Canada produces more than 80% of the world’s Maple Syrup, which is not surprising since the majority of Algonquin’s live in the Ottawa area. Vermont is the largest United States producer.
There are some health benefits to eating Maple Syrup. First of all, it is low in fructose compared to high fructose corn syrup and it is rich in manganese and zinc.
One reason that real Maple Syrup is so expensive is that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
If you want to learn more about this interesting process, you can visit Wikipedia.org/Maple_syrup like I did.
Here’s a cookie recipe to get you started, which I got from http://homecooking.about.com/od/cookierecipes with a few little changes.
Maple Nut Cookies
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup pure maple syrup (not imitation)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until well-combined. Add flour, coconut and macadamia nuts. Stir just until combined. Scoop teaspoons of dough and place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Let cool 5 minutes and completely cool. Store in a covered container.
For a little extra flavor, you can frost them with maple frosting.
*If you have any insulin issues, I strongly suggest not eating these cookies.
And, a happy spring to you all.
I would like to ask each one of you to please tell a friend about my blog and ask them to tell one of their friends. Hopefully this will ratchet up my readership as I continue to watch it grow.
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Posted by The Blogger at 1:44 PM
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Maybe it started with Jacqueline Kennedy telling her grandchildren to call her “Grand’Mere” but gone are the days of these ladies wearing house dresses and rolled up stockings. Now it’s blue jeans and Sketchers, North Face and L.L. Bean. Instead of going to market to gather ingredients for chicken and biscuits, they’re headed to the dairy aisle for yogurt and fiber bars before heading to the gym to tackle treadmills and free weights.
They studied computers before Al Gore invented the internet, wear sweats instead of sweaters, have hair streaked with gold instead of grey and can be found running with the dog not rocking with the cat.
They e mail, shoot photos with a digital camera and have Bluetooth car phone hookups. They’re on Face Book, Twitter and BlogSpot, conduct business over the internet and pretty much use that for all info and research.
Some have MP3 players, others like to burn music downloads on a disc and just pop them into their Bose Wave Radios or car disc players.
Many, many are accessing all this great technology (which their generation helped develop)—and they are loving it. Since they are able to connect with kids and grandkids regularly, we better be good to them because now there’s no escape from text messaging, emails and those ever-present, loving, watchful eyes.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010
We have all seen famous sports figures, politicians and super stars lying about something they have done to hide their shame and avoid the repercussions of their actions. Trouble is, when someone is branded a “liar” no one believes anything they say.Recently, I was shocked when almost 300 people in Dr. Phil’s audience admitted to lying—regularly. Maybe that's why we see all those news stories about liars. They think everyone else is doing it. The truth is (no pun intended) not everyone does lie.
For the most part, I don’t even exaggerate. Anyway, I figure there are some times when a person just has to “bend the truth” and here are a few of the times I came up with personally.
Many years ago, when I baked my first apple pie for my new husband, he took a bite and told me it was delicious. I tried it and instantly realized the crust tasted just like cardboard. But, since my man was so gracious about it, I baked him another one and today I make the best apple pie you will ever taste. I’m thinking if he had been honest, he’d still be getting store-bought pies.
Back in the 1980’s Jack and I took a wrong turn while towing a broken car from Boston to Utica. Stuck in the middle of a narrow side street, I looked over at him, noticed a vein bulging at the side of his forehead and decided this was a good time for a lie. Looking at the map I said, “Don’t worry, honey, I know just where we are and we’ll be back on the highway in a few minutes.” That situation could have created a serious medical problem because he was terribly upset.More recently, because my identity was stolen, I was forced to fudge some personal information to protect our assets. I deeply apologize to anyone who may be upset by this ruse but it is necessary to keep the thieves at bay. I really think this is an excellent reason to lie, even though it seems to put me closer to the level of the theives.
None of these incidents included spousal cheating, congressional shenanigans or fudging athletic drug test results.
So, what do you lie about?
Posted by The Blogger at 7:31 PM