Thursday, March 27, 2014

tapping our maples...

We have two maples on our property.  One is a black maple and the other species we have not identified, however it has yellow leaves in the fall, but not vibrant yellow like you would see on the sugar maple. 

I have read a little bit about the black maple and I guess it is in the family of Norway maples.  It has purple, almost black leaves.  I have read that it could be a "Crimson King".  I don't know if it matters all that much, I have read that you can get sap from any maple in order to make maple syrup or maple sugar.

I had mentioned a bit about wanting to tap our trees in a previous post, so I won't get into all of that again.  In this post, I just wanted to share the pictures I took yesterday evening when we did the actual tapping.

Measuring the diameter of the tree trunk


Drilling the tap hole using a 5/16" drill bit

Fitting the spile into the hole


 Gently tapping in the spile
Stile in tree
Let the sap RUN!

Assembling the bag system

Smokey is c-c-c-old!

Drilling the other maple in the backyard
Zee hole!

Tap-a-tap-tap

Hanging the bag onto the spile

This tree is large enough to take a least two taps/bags

oh so FLUFFY!
Black Maple in the front of the house

Close-up

Unidentified maple on the side of the garage in the backyard

Close-up ~ We hung the bags facing south

The backyard upper garden

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

something to heal the doldrums...

ah-ha!  I think I found a couple of activities to get me motivated to LIVE again!!!

We were driving home from work last week and noticed that someone had blue bags hanging from their trees...I immediately remembered that my sister and I had discussed collecting sap to make maple syrup and now was the time to do it!

When I got home, I went onto eBay to see if I was right about those blue bags, and YEP, I was!  So, I thought about it for a bit, asked one of the sellers a bunch of questions and then ordered a kit of 5 four gallon bags, bag holders and spiles (taps).  They came in the mail the other day and it is time to tap the trees.

We only have two maple trees on the property and both are large enough to be able to be tapped.  One will only use one bag and the other can use two. One of the maple trees is a black maple and the other is a ... I don't know maple but I've heard you can tap them all.  The sap might be a bit cloudy in the one but it still works fine.

Wish us luck, as we figured (mostly mathematical genius, Jerome figured out) that we only need to collect 12 gallons to make enough maple syrup for the bottles that we have at home...we'll see...should be fun.  I will take pictures this evening as we attempt to tap our trees and share them later.

The other little activity was something that I had seen on Pinterest.  

I had put some pictures of the kitchen on Pinterest; some before and after and then one only of the after and so far 99 people have repinned it!  Sometimes when I have the time, I check out the people who have repinned my picture and see what else they have repinned.  

One girl had this really cool pin of a KitchenAid Mixer with vinyl decals on it.  I thought that was so clever!  Jerome and I had talked about buying a new mixer in Red to go with our accent color but KitchenAid's Mixers are really expensive.  So when I saw that someone had decals on them, I thought this was a really great way to update the appliance without spending a pretty penny.

I bought a set of decals from The Word Nerd Studio on etsy (the Pinterest pin had a link to this lady's shop).  I was able to choose my colors, which were red, grey and dark brown.  She and I had some conversation back and forth and pretty soon the decals were delivered.




I love the transformation and the fact that if you get tired of the design, you can remove them and get another design or just remove them without hassle.

If you happen to go to her shop on etsy and you wind up buying something, let her know that you heard about her from me - I told her that I put her info on Facebook and she was very appreciative.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

what's new and exciting?...end of february and beginning of march

...the doldrums...or seasonal affective disorder...or lack of motivation.

Caught a cold and spent a lot of time on the couch watching TV.  Jerome was in Mexico for work and he caught something too, probably on the plane ride.  His only lasted a couple of days, but we were for sure lacking motivation.

No worries though!  We finally started another home improvement project!!!  I'm sure you were worried.  This one is a quick one (we think).  During the last home improvement project, just as it always seems to happen, while trying to fix up one thing another thing gets ruined.   So, we are replacing the ceiling tiles in the storage area of the basement.

You may remember that while doing the kitchen reno, the hose for the ice maker in the fridge leaked from the kitchen, down to the basement and ruined 4 ceiling tiles.  I replaced the ceiling tiles with ones that were in the ceiling of the storage area in the basement, so now we needed to get some more ceiling tiles for that area and install them.

In the meantime, Jerome thought that we could clean up the wiring for the alarm system (that we don't use)...so he began cutting and pulling out the wires.  We will take them to the scrap yard and get some $$ for them (there's copper in them there wires, ya know).  Well, we found out a little later that some of the wires that he cut were to the land-line telephone.  So he spent all of Sunday trying to figure out how to reconnect those wires.  Always something, but it goes along with our theme of "ruin while improving"...

We picked up the new ceiling tiles last night at Menard's.  First time in that store in our lives!  While there we also purchased a chandelier for the basement bathroom and a new dehumidifier since the old one was intermittently working.

That will be this weekend's project.  Should be done in no time!

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In the past week or so, we found out that Jerome's broken rib (from 4 years ago) either never healed properly or the rib is fracturing around that healed area.  He's got a doctor's appointment tomorrow to figure this out.

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Jerome is finally working on the papers for his US citizenship.  He didn't want to do it until his green card was coming up for renewal - that was so that he wouldn't waste the money that it cost to get the green card in the first place.

I told him that he better STAY married to me once this is all said and done!!!  He said "No worries Bun, according to this form, I could have dumped your sorry a$$ back in 2008...".

Thanks for keeping me for so long :)

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And finally, the MINI is an accident magnet!  I was on my way to visit my friend Debbie.  She invited me over for breakfast.  I was making a right from 18 Mile onto Utica.  The light was red.  I was inching up to make a right on red but there was a car coming from the west.  I didn't want to chance it because I was not feeling well so I waited for it to pass.  The young man behind me thought that not only I could make it in front of that car, but he could too.  He wasn't looking at me, he was looking at the oncoming car and gunned it.  SLAM!  Right into my backside.  Not much visible damage to the MINI but his (father's) car's airbags deployed!  It was a Mercedes S Class.  Bummer.

Apparently he is fighting the ticket because I received a letter in the mail to appear in court next week.  I am not obligated to appear...so I choose not to.

The MINI had $415 in damage to the chrome piece and bumper...really nothing.  It's all fixed and smelling of new paint.