Monday, March 30, 2009
We (by which I mean Bob) were up at The Lake on Saturday boiling down the copious amount of sap the trees so graciously donated to our breakfast table. I'm tending to a whining Baby M and here comes The Husband with tiny glass in hand, bringing me a taste of the first run. Now, I wouldn't say that I'm a bad mother, but a girl's gotta have her priorities. Baby M? Who? Helloooo golden goodness! Maple Syrup is good any time of year, but minutes out of the evaporator, seconds out of the strainer? Less than 24 hours out of the tree itself? Mmmmmmm....... I'm going to need a minute here.
If you haven't witnessed or participated in the making of maple syrup, head on over to Cedar's Adirondack View for some good pictures of the process.
Friday, March 27, 2009
You don't hear much about Log Fever in the news. It is a growing public health threat and I'm beginning a campaign with a walk to raise awareness and a brown ribbon for your car bumper. Our cute animated mascot for the TV public service announcements is a beaver.
But I digress. When we moved back to the North Country nigh unto five years ago, The Husband joined his father in business. Part of the business includes log rental cabins on The Lake. These cabins were built in the 1930s and were one-room affairs with wood stoves. Cute, homey, tiny. When my FIL took over the business from his Uncle in 1969, he also inherited these cabins. Over the years, three of the cabins had been expanded and renovated. The Uncle lives in one of the cabins, hermit-like. And then there was Cabin Three.
Somewhere along the way, Cabin 3 fell into disrepair. (She says with ironically arched eyebrow). It actually had a TREE growing on its roof. The Husband, fresh from the world of avionics, eager to dive into the world of manual labor,
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
How could such a sweet little boy become a log building machine? I'm glad you asked.
Stay tuned next time for a tutorial in 'How to Fall in Love with Logs, or, Be Careful What Projects You Start.'
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I don't even want your blog business. The rest of you, please continue.
I grew up in central NY farm country, blissfully unaware that you could even BUY maple syrup in the store, let alone the dastardly impostors. We bought syrup by the quart and gallon from our neighbors. Now The Husband and his father make their own syrup. They tap a small sugarbush at The Lake and sit around the evaporator chatting and minding the sap as it bubbles and boils.
One of my earliest memories of Bob's family features maple syrup. There are very few things in life that my good-natured father-in-law gets exercised about. Wasting maple syrup is on the top of that short list. So, when I was about 16 yrs old it happened that I was eating a waffle at Bob's house and left a pool of syrup on my plate when I was done. Suddenly a shout rent the air:
"What is THAT?!"
It took me a second to recover from the shock and figure out to what he was referring. My future father-in-law, of course, thought I was unaware of (or indifferent to) the toil that goes into making real maple syrup. In reality, syrup had been so abundant in my youth, that I did not make use of every drop. But, I have been careful to ration only the needed amount in the ensuing years, and the FIL and I have had no disagreements since.
Bob's sister in Dee-Cee serves her 14 (or four) children flavored corn syrup and reserves the good stuff for the adults. I think this is a form of child abuse. What about you? Will you 'fess up to putting hard-working farmers and other honest country folk out of business by padding the corporate pockets of Aunt Jemima? Or that other brand that defiles the holy name of Log? It's confession time.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Although the snow and ice inside the log house are melted and gone, there's no point in starting in on a new phase of the house build, when the temp tomorrow could be 15 degrees and the snow could pile up again. Such is mud season up here. The weather, so reliable in winter, suddenly freaks out like a teenager and can't make up its mind whether to join the chess club or the football team. (Yes, I know that's a strange metaphor, but I substituted at the high school on Monday and I'm still amazed that I'm so old that I view the students there as aliens.) ANYWAY, the Husband's attention has turned from brooding on the unfinished house to thoughts of sap. With the days up above freezing and the nights still dipping down, it's time to tap the maple trees. Can't do it too soon, though, and if you tap too late, you'll miss the first run. Tap? Tap-me-not. Tap? Tap-me-not. Hmmmmm.....
Bob atop corner of house, summer 2008
Bob, atop wall Fall 2008
Bob and Jim securing bracing board December 2008
Bob looking out on the snowy world, January 2009.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
One more for good measure.
She has her mother's grace.
Stay tuned for more of the exciting saga 'Logs of our Lives' and don't forget to place your bets on when the sap will start running at The Lake.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Where were we? Oh yes. Roof trusses, but no roof. Christmas and New Year's intervened and we found January 2009 upon us with no roof surface. So, over the course of a couple weeks, Bob enlisted Johnny, (Dad of course), and our friend Craig to help install the sub-roof.
Craig returned from the Middle East several months ago, where he's been living and working for years. Let's take a moment to imagine how cold he is in this picture. He had just discovered, by the way, that the lid to his insulated coffee mug had frozen shut. With his hot coffee inside.
The roof is now on (sans shingles), and the house, which once looked like a couple of stacked logs, now looks like this:
Monday, March 2, 2009
We didn't quiiiite make our self-imposed deadline of getting the roof on before snowfall. Which, although certainly not prohibitive, does make building a bit trickier if you have to SHOVEL OUT YOUR HOUSE before buckling down to work. Still, our intrepid hero soldiered on and worked around the drifts to put a roof on the house during December 2008 and January 2009. He discovered that a friend of a friend owns a truss company (I love the networking aspect of small towns!) and while eager to buy locally when possible, Bob was also pleasantly surprised at the price, service and adaptability of the company. Witnessing the trusses being installed was exciting. And, while I trust The Husband's judgement and skill, I can't help but feel a bit of wifely anxiety when watching this: Especially when I went inside the house, only to discover what was going on up close:
That's Bob on a ladder on the makeshift second floor of the house, securing the first roof truss. It's so cold out that I had to stop taking pictures after awhile because I couldn't feel my fingers. And I had gloves on. Oh -- and did I mention that there was snow and ice everywhere inside the house?
No one died in the making of this roof, fortunately. And, after two days of assistance from Johnny, Chris, Bob's dad Jim, and the boom truck guy, the house looked like this:
Join us next time, when snow stops accumulating in our house.