My big day off
I actually did clean my house, as I had planned. There was the risk that I would be overwhelmed with laziness and not accomplish anything. However, I rose to the occasion and my house is now cleaner than it's been in months.
The bitch is back
The Snow Queen that is. This is the same stump Emma was trying to climb yesterday. Sigh.

After supper M went out and took these.

Things I hate #734
When the cat barfs up her undigested food on my floor and then IMMEDIATELY starts begging for more food. Arrrrgh!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Picture of the day...
"Emma, will you please take your paci out of your mouth so I can take your picture?"


"Carry you! Carry you, Mommy!"
This is what she says when she wants ME to carry HER.
Such an imagination on this one...
When I went to get her up out of bed this morning she greeted me with, "Mommy, the bear is going to eat me."
Afternoon Walkabout
The weather was in the low sixties when we got home so we spent a long time outside explorer. She led me all around the property, revisiting some of her old haunts. First...

"Mommy, come up the steps!"

"Mommy, you stand in the hole!"

"Hi Turtle, thank you."

"I want up!"

Back to the good old cattle guard.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
That's Emma's plea when she's begging for her paci, or whatever else she wants now. Noni taught her that one this past weekend. Thanks, Noni ;)
Brief update
I went shopping today with Emma. My personal list consisted of the Casino Royale DVD, more Bath & Body Works Moonlight Path lotion, and a pair of jeans the next size down (yay!). Mission accomplished. I also had a list of things to buy for my work and for the store. I got all of that as well.

Emma was a really good little shopper today, in contrast to the last several trips we've made. I think she was tired this morning and strangely more compliant than usual. We hit the mall and she was good the whole time. We met Noni for lunch at the newly remodeled Arby's. She was pretty good there too. Although, she's been giving Noni a hard time lately when I'm around, being an ornery little stinker and making Noni work for the love. After lunch I took Emma to Noni's house and she napped for 2 hours and 45 minutes. She was tired.

After nap we ran to Costco and gassed up. We paid $2.25 for regular. At home it's $2.49 so it was definitely worth my while to gas up in Nonitown. We picked up lots of stuff for the store and my work and then headed back to Noni and Popi's for supper. We had a nice visit with them and then headed back to the mountains. We'll see them again on Saturday.
M's doing OK
He had his oral surgery today. They just ended up pulling the teeth, like a dentist would. They didn't put him under or anything. We were in and out of there much faster than anticipated. Mary had offered to keep Emma late so we told her to expect us between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. I was there to pick her up shortly before 5:00 p.m. It turned out the drive was about an hour and fifteen minutes each way.

This morning I decided that I'm taking Friday off. I have vacation days to blow so why not? I need to get my house organized for visitors this weekend, and maybe catch up on some rest. Noni and Popi and Uncle B's family are coming over for the festival. At the end of the day we'll celebrate little m's sixth birthday. I think it will be a pizza and cake party, with presents of course. My house is so tiny and congested with crap that I need to plow through to make room for everyone.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Maple Sugaring Time!
I've known that maple sugaring went on throughout the county since long before I lived here, but I'd never seen an operation up close until today. Our neighbors, about a mile up the road, took up maple sugaring as a hobby. A very expensive hobby. They built a sugar shack, more like the ones in New England. They have two sugaring methods going on, a more old fashioned one in a kettle stove, and a modern evaporator. We took Emma by to visit after work this evening. I was really glad we went.

On the way up to the shack we stopped by the trees in their front yard. They use the old fashioned galvanized steel taps and buckets. Larger modern operations use plastic taps and tubing.

Don't worry about the drowned fly and the lichen in there, by the time the syrup is done it will be boiled and purifed fifty times over.

Here's the sugar shack, built expressly for the fun of it.

Our neighbor is checking the progress of the current batch. You have to keep the machine running around the clock, so they do shifts to get through the night. That evaporator has to be stoked with wood every fifteen minutes. You can see the glow of the fire through the doors. You'd have to be a hardcore hobbyist to enjoy this.

If you look back up at the picture of the shack you can see the open vent on top to allow steam out. When you step into the shack it's steamy, like a sauna. It took me a minute to adjust to breathing steamy maple sugar air.

As you can see here, the sugar water does some pretty serious boiling.

Here he's checking on his kettle stove. This one works by straight evaporation, the same as if you did it on your stove at home. But beware, it can take up to 100 gallons of water tapped from maple trees to make only one gallon of pure maple syrup.

Here's their finished product. A local artist drew their shack for the label. While they do sell their syrup, they could never hope to sell enough to pay for the costs of running the operation.

Emma was tickled by the cat who was resting in the chair.

Here's another cat that our neighbor saved from the dumpster. A local lady was going to throw him away but the cat found it's way to the shack. I told D. that people coming to the hills expect to see local eccentricities; he was giving them their money's worth.

I added this last picture to show you that it wasn't as brightly lit in the shack as my flash photos implied. It wasn't quite as dark as this picture implies either. It was somewhere in the middle.

I really enjoyed our visit and am going to highly recommend that Noni and Popi and Uncle B. and Aunt K. and the kids stop by and visit this weekend when they come over.
Surprising insight
This morning when we were putting Emma in the car she asked, "Where's the sun?"


Last week when I got Emma up out of bed and set her on her changing table she said, "Mommy, you're getting smaller and I'm getting bigger." Gulp, yes, I've lost 17 lbs. so far. It's not something we ever talk about so she had to have observed it on her own.