Monthly Archives: February 2010

Nursery Update

Last weekend, Ed built this beautiful book case for the baby’s room.  After painting it white to match the other furniture, I decorated it with the children’s books that were given to us at the shower, and some moo cow gifts: a singing/moving stuffed animal, a cute lamp, and a humidifier.  Thanks to my family and friends for the presents!

Meanwhile, Ed’s mom continues to work on the mural.  Here are some of her latest additions:

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Going on Leave

Today, after my check-up, the conclusion was that I need to begin maternity leave sooner rather than later.  I’m retaining water, which is not unusual for being 38 weeks pregnant, but I’ve gained 6 lbs since last week and my ankles are pretty swollen.  As Ed told me, 6 lbs of water weight is almost a gallon! It’s scary when you think about it that way.  While my blood pressure is healthy, they’re concerned it will go up if I don’t get more rest.

When the doctor told me that I needed to make tomorrow my last day, I burst into tears.  I think hormones may have been involved…  I felt a combination of sadness (I thought I had one more week!) and relief (I’m exhausted!).

It’s going to be strange not to go to work next week, while my students and colleagues are still there.  It’s not like a regular vacation, and it will feel weird to have life go on there without me.  I’ve never NOT worked.  But I’m sure that I won’t have time to worry about work once the baby makes his appearance.

Everyone tells me that becoming a mother is a life-changing experience, and I suppose leaving work is only a small fraction of that (since, of course, I will go back to work next year!).  It just hit me that it’s so real now, the baby is coming soon, and life will change forever.  I’m really excited for our new adventure into parenthood!

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Nursery Update

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Boiling Sap

After visiting my family tapping trees yesterday, I decided to continue the sugaring season theme and visit Ed’s family today while they boiled down sap.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, so you can imagine what a long process it is.

The sugar house

Ed’s dad stands over the evaporator, getting what I call a maple sap facial

The wood-fired evaporator

As I said yesterday, dogs aren’t required, but who wouldn’t want to have the dogs present? Tucker and Jed made our time in the sugar house more fun.

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture

Tapping Trees

A couple of people have expressed interest in seeing more about making maple syrup, so I headed on over to the farm today to visit everyone tapping trees.  I’m no expert, but I used to help when I was a kid and I understand the basic process.  If you would like to learn to make maple syrup, I suggest you speak to people in your area for more specifics.

Step 1: Gather materials.  A big family (or lots of friends) is important, because lots of hands make quick work.  You’ll also need:

  • Farm Dogs- They’re not required, but why wouldn’t you want to bring the dogs along?

Duke

Benny

  • Transportation vehicles- Again, not required, but they make it more fun. 

My cousin’s truck: Big Blue

Nate on his quad cutting off me and Jon on the gator. See mom? I told you I had proof!

  • Oh yes, you can’t make maple syrup without: maple trees, drills, quills, hooks, pails, covers, tubing.

Step 2: Drill holes in the maple trees.  We used to use hand-drills when I was little, but now battery drills are much faster.

Um, Dad, I seem to remember that you’re not supposed to climb ladders due to your bad back!!!

Drilling a hole

The bigger and older the tree, the more taps you can put on it.

Step 3: Hammer in the quill. A quill is like a little spout that allows the sap to pour out.

Step 4: Hang pails or attach tubing. We use both pails and tubing to collect the sap.  They each have their own advantages.

Pails have a nice old-fashioned look to them.  The disadvantage is that you have to collect sap from them every day to avoid overflow. 

They also have covers, but I forgot to take pictures of them…

Tubing for sap lines is convenient because it runs from tree to tree and collects in a container.  The advantage is that you don’t have to collect sap every day, it runs right into the collection tank.  However, it just doesn’t have the same New England rustic appeal that the metal pails have.

After the trees are tapped, you hope for the perfect weather for the sap to run.  Temperatures need to be freezing at night, but above freezing during the day.  When you get enough sap, you can start boiling it down in the sugar house to make maple syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

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I’m still here!

Just wanted to check in and let everybody know that my absence from the blog over the last couple of days doesn’t mean I’ve had the baby yet! I’ve still got a few weeks to go, and I’ve always believed that he’s going to arrive later than expected.

I had a check up yesterday and all is well, update here.  I had a horrible night’s sleep last night, thanks to heartburn (only the second time I’ve ever had it), frequent bathroom trips, overheating and my sleepwalking/talking husband.  Have I mentioned before that Ed’s a sleepwalker? Well he is, and always has been.  Sometimes it’s funny or sweet, like when I awoke to him standing on the bed unscrewing lightbulbs from the ceiling fixture, or when he pulled me over closer to him to save me from the tree he dreamed was falling.   Sometimes, though, it’s annoying.  A few nights, I awoke to him pulling the blankets off the bed, convinced there was a snake in it.  Or sometimes I’m just getting back to sleep when he wakes me up because he’s talking about work or gets up to turn the light on because he thinks it’s time to get up.  I know Ed tends to sleepwalk more when he’s stressed out, and I would imagine waiting for the baby is a pretty stressful time.

I spent today resting, organizing some of the baby’s clothes and started packing a bag for the hospital.  I even got to take a nap and I’m very happy to be on vacation this week.  I’m planning to continue working until March 5, which my doctors support, but I’m not really sure how realistic that is.  I’m just going to take one day at a time. 

While I can’t yet relate to being sick of being pregnant, I’m sure that’s just around the corner.  For the most part, I’m really enjoying being pregnant.  But I’m also starting to feel ready for this little guy to make his appearance.

UPDATE: I slept really well after writing this post, so all is right in the world now! Sorry for such a whiney post 🙂

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