Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Maple Syrup and Working Wood

February and early March weather spurred maple trees to produce large amounts of sap. Five tapped trees produced 14 quarts of maple syrup so far but are tapering off. Our stove has been covered with steaming pots for the duration and we're looking forward to a cooler kitchen, without so much steam.
A Pot of Soup Shares the Stove Top with Five Pots of Maple Sap
Although gathering sap, feeding the fire, tending pots on the stove and insuring syrup does not become charcoal takes time, there were a few hours in between to complete woodworking tasks. I've been learning skills at Northeastern Woodworkers Association classes and the organization expects each member to contribute an object to be sold at the NWA Showcase being held in Saratoga, NY on April 2&3: 


It's the largest woodworking show in the country and this is the 25th anniversary show and should be the most extravagant. In addition to the garden tote with white ash ends that will be on sale to benefit the club, I made another out of cherry to be on display in the flat-board section along with instruments, furniture, chests and fancy boxes. I have yet to complete a bowl for display in the wood-turners section. 

The organization supports many non-profit and other benefit efforts and I volunteered to make a vessel to hold "beads of courage" for some very sick child. These colorful beads are given kids when they undergo a procedure like drawing blood, getting imaged, receiving chemo or radiation treatment and shots. Many kids "earn" thousands of beads and need something to put them in. Some of the members made square boxes and others turned cylindrical vessels out of wood. I decided to encase a large plastic jar in wood with lots of open areas to view the beads inside. 

For more information see: http://www.beadsofcourage.org/

Bead Vessel: Top & Bottom Are Walnut, Knob Is Lilac
Horses Are Soft Maple, Poles Are Birch
Garden Tote: Ends Are White Ash, Sides Are Cherry, Handle Is a Hickory Stem and Woven Nylon-Coated Stainless Steel Cable Bottom 
Side View of Above Tote
End View of Above Tote
All Cherry Tote with a Cottonwood Handle Peeled by a Beaver
End View of Above Tote

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pond Ice Melting

This year our pond began melting much sooner than usual. I noticed an otter eating a large fish on the rim of the hole in the ice made by the bubbler that oxygenates the pond so our fish don't smother. I set up the game camera to see if I could ascertain what specie of fish the otter catches. I never did find out but the sequence of noon photos (the camera automatically takes a photo at midnight and at noon) show the progression of the pond melting, refreezing and then fully opening to the sky.

I'll put the bubbler away until the next time the pond freezes over!

February 21: Edge of the Hole in the Ice Made by the Bubbler

February 22: Not Much Has Changed

February 23: The Edge of the Hole Had Refrozen the Night Before

February 24: Quite a Bit More Ice Melted Overnight

February 25: Rain Is Helping to Melt Even More Ice

February 26: About Half the Ice is Gone Off the Pond

February 27: Old Man Winter Closed Some of the Open Water

February 28: Balmy 56 Degrees Is Melting Ice Quickly

February 29: Ice All Gone

March 1: Cool But Still No Ice

March 4: By Noon, Very Thin Ice Has Returned

March 4 - 5PM: Open Water Has Expanded

March 5: Some Open Water has Refrozen

March 6: More Open Water and Very Thin Ice
March 7: Ice Gone, Not to Return (I Hope) Until Next Winter

March 8 AM: Our Goose Pair Returns

March 8 - Noon: Tranquil 58 degrees!

March 8: PM - Geese Return

March 10: Cloudy & 60 degrees!

March 11: Overcast and 50 degrees!

March 12: Sunny and 56 degrees!

March 13: Still 56 degrees!