on time

“You cannot step in the same river once.” ~ Chuang Tzu (maybe)time view

The weather has changed again.

After so many days of the children running outside barefoot, talking about Spring.  After a roof and walls went up on the outbuilding so large I think we could almost move into it.  After surveying the damage of the last big freeze and being very grateful to still have some kale.  After days of sun and wind and hawks and owls calling in the big trees.

We woke to the sound of drizzling rain.

The weather bounces like a yoyo.  Or maybe it’s a boomerang.  There’s a chance of snow tonight.  I welcome it, having known through those balmy days that Winter was still underneath it all.

Welcoming the change seems the best option, now and always.

The seasons unroll themselves, cresting at times in wonderful moments of full expression, then dipping back into shadows or shades of the season behind, or to come.

time childrenSort of like children.  We watch them crawl out of their baby fat.  They spring up like weeds, trying on every characteristic in their genetic code as they grow, amazing and challenging and delighting us all at once.  Just when a behavior seems to have arrived to stay, it is gone again.  Like the open toothless smile of an infant, so fleeting.  One of the perks of being a mother, for sure, is to still be able to see the baby inside the person who grows out of it.

And I see myself in them too, as I was or might have been.  I see in them fragments, gestures, flashes of who I am, and have been.  They are not me, and I am not them, but we are present in each other in a way that, though constant, always changes.

It helps remind me of who I might be now, too. (It is all too easy to lose track of myself – a sense of myself – in the care of feeding of a family.)

There, in the old photos, I recognize the baby, the little girl, the young woman.  I remember being her, sometimes.

time high school

What is it that holds together all these people we have been?

Time.

Slippery substance, mostly of our own creation, that one.  But there it is, running through the seasons, through the years, stringing clouds, rain, sun, days, nights, laughter, anger, tears and hugs all together in an endless beaded string.

Some days, I have a rough ball of clay to thread onto that string as it passes.  Other days, there is a delicate iridescent pearl.  Both add texture and depth to the un-finishable creation of life.

The big question is – what will we do with our precious time on this drizzly winter day?time shadows

 

thankful

shed going upSome of you may remember that last Spring, before the garden rush hit, we started building a storage building. It was very exciting. But, the weather turned a little too nice, and the collective energy all turned toward the garden. We threw a tarp over the platform which was to become the storage shed, and there it sat, all summer and all fall, as the work of the season took precedence.

The sun these past few days has been good for a great many things. It has drawn us all outdoors. It has helped us shed our coats and pallor. The sap has been running, of course – but we don’t have the land base to make the effort of maple tapping much worthwhile (we just go to Canada each year instead). But goodness knows, there’s plenty else to do in the sunshine. Like, finish that building project!

Our friend Wilson came down for a visit and the Good-Enough Construction Crew was back in business.shed action

I am thankful for the clear warm blue sky, day after day.

I am thankful for the persistence of my Fellow Man, diving into new work, day after day.

I am thankful for our good friend, who is willing to climb up on the roof and do the work that completely freaks me out.shed up high

I am thankful for progress, in all the forms it takes.  We’re not finished at all – but it sure feels great to have come this far.  And the sun is still shining!shed right now

sugarin’ time…

…Here in Kentucky, that is.IMGP0355We’ve had a very busy week thus far tapping trees and gathering sap. The weather has been so lovely this week that all of the work we’ve been doing felt more like opportunity than toil. I would have to recommend not tapping sugar maples if you don’t like a few sore muscles and smelling intensely of wood smoke.IMGP0385Today was our first boil-off of the sugaring season and to say that I am tired might be an understatement. We must have boiled off about 100 gallons of sap today. The 2-3 gallons that did not evaporate into thin air are now finishing on the cookstove in the house. I’m not sure I can see the task to completion this evening as the darkness has long since settled and I was dressed and out the door at 3:30 am this morning. (I have to add here that Eric was up at 2:45 am and had the fire raging before I even arrived on the scene!) Plus, we will be firing the rig again in the morning, and, looking at the clock and calculating the number of hours between now and then… well, I don’t see a whole lot of sleep in my near future.IMGP0344That’s ok, though. Maple syrup seems worth the effort. In particular, maple syrup that comes from trees that are like family to me. Trees that have become interwoven into the fabric of my life here on the farm. Trees that loom in the backdrop of my every day existence, no matter what the season. Trees that my children are beginning to identify as individuals and as good friends (that have pocketfuls of sweet candy). I live in a forest full of sugar maples and feel incredibly lucky for that fact.IMGP0347We’re getting better at the process of sugarin’ as the years pass. Each year we seem to make one or two refinements that seem to revolutionize our lives. Last year it was the evaporator pan. This year, a length of irrigation pipe from the pasture that wasn’t being used. That very basic 200 feet of plastic pipe with a funnel duct taped to the end has spared me countless treks down the very steep and slippery forest slope with a full load of maple sap. This year, the funnel-attached-to-the-pipe is kind of centrally located in the sugar bush and we merely have to traverse the slope a bit and dump buckets of sap in the glory hole of the funnel. Gravity takes care of the rest… directly into our storage tank. This makes me very happy. I’m a pretty cheap date. Amazing what joy I can garner from some black plastic irrigation pipe, a cheap-o plastic funnel, and some duct tape. In my opinion, that’s way better than a movie and some popcorn.

And now, my friends, I’m calling it a day. The sap is still running… but I’m fading.IMGP0349