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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

I'm A Sappy Kinda Girl

Today was a good day, all tolled.

Tom came out and did quite a bit of automotive work:  switched out the winter Blizzaks on the Yaris for the summer tires, changed tires on a vehicle that's leaving Swamp River Ridge on Monday (along with his old '78 Chevy Man Truck which served us WELL for the $800 we bought it for more than a few years ago), and together we got the Subaru Forester out from where it was parked in the 'back 40' since we stopped driving it last year.  It's now sitting in front of the garage, but it still needs a little more work before Tom can take it and leave me the Yaris.  But, it's all progress, and we're moving in the right direction!  

After that, we got a good bit of sorting done here in the house, and I think we're both happy with the division of things.  So far, so good!

It was a cool, wet day, though.  After raiding my dad's stash of rebar last night and grabbing their "portable" fire pit on my way home from work, I was ready to build the grate I needed in order to begin boiling down the very first (in the world, I think it'd be safe to say!) batch of Swamp River Ridge maple syrup! 

I laid the re-bar out in the grid pattern I wanted.  Then, I used heavy wire to fasten each point at which the re-bar intersected.  Maisy didn't understand why I was doing anything more than throwing rocks for her.

Then, I got my fire goin' and put the pots on.  Maisy continued to look sad & dejected, pathetic & wet.

Since it's still so damp tonight and there's no wind, I have no qualms about letting the fire burn as long as it will . . . while I go to sleep.  And tomorrow will be another day of reducing the sap towards syrup!

Lastly . . . remember how I talked about those freaky, "ill winds" in my last post?  Well, I still haven't found a name for them; at least, not one that strikes a chord in my memory.  BUT, I have read some pret-ty interesting info about 'em!  (And "the reason is the positive ions produced by these winds.  In the case of these winds and ions, positive is not a good thing!")  Check this out:

" . . . these ill winds cause physical problems such as headaches, dizziness, eye twitching, nausea, fatigue, saline disorders, water retention, respiratory problems, asthma, slower reaction time and host of other even more serious problems. Mental disorders caused by the increase in positive ions are nervousness, emotional unbalance, easily irritated, apathy, listlessness, insecurity, anxious and depression."  When these "kinds of winds begin to blow throughout the world, hospital admissions, suicides, and crime rates skyrocket".  And, as Claire eluded to in the comments section of my previous post, some countries even accept "the blowing of the 'Foehn' during the commission of a crime as mitigating evidence in court"!

"According to the experts, positive ions rob us of our good senses and dispositions, while their counterpart, negative ions, enhance them, stimulating everything from plant growth to the human sex drive.  Whatever their name, throughout the world, [these winds] are known to blow no good."

So, what do we do to counteract the positive ions that screw us up?  We take a shower.  We listen to water.  We install a fountain.  And why?  Because "falling water creates thousands of negative ions" (which are GOOD!).  Matter of fact, "Feng Shui, literally translated, means 'Wind and Water'”!  "Negative ions reduce neurosis and anxiety, heighten appetite and thirst and stimulate sexual behavior."  They also "promote alpha brain waves and increase brain wave amplitude, which translates to a higher awareness level."

In short, get thee to some moving water.

And, with that, science class is over for the day. 


  1. LOVE the pictures of your sap boiling set-up! You were so ingenious to think of it.

    I know NOTHING about maple syrup making, but aren't you supposed to boil in an open pot so the steam/water can evaporate from the sap?

  2. What fun that syrup boil looks like! I am saddened to hear that your Forester resides in the back 40... I am a rabid Subaru fan (it's all we ever own!) and hubby's '98 Forester is a mere 30 steps from my front door... how can you let it go? I am sad... LOL, seriously, you just reminded me that I need to go out and wash the Subies this week, mine aren't used to having salt spray from the roads on them like they got this past winter. My husband saw all the Subarus in Duluth when we went last summer and he said "so this is where Subaru Heaven is" LOL! Glad Tom was out there helping to get the Spring stuff done and enabling you to get some things crossed off your list. Just a thought, but I bet if you looked up some Native American books at the library or on the web, you may be able to put a name to those ill winds, I bet there is even a local tribe specific name for the ones in your area! Can't wait to see your final syrup product - do you ship, LOL?!

  3. W-
    I'm so glad you were able to come up with a system for your sap boiling. I agree with Mama Pea...don't you have to take the lid off? I also agree that I really know nothing about it, though. :) Much love!

  4. Mom & Patty: right, you are! (And, yes, Patty, you would, too, know about it since your grandpa still makes maple syrup!) :) In the first picture, it was when I'd just gotten started, so I wanted to let the sap get up to temperature before I removed the lid. In the nighttime picture, I had just banked the fire for the night, and I put the lids back on when I do that so that stirred-up ash, etc. doesn't fall in.

    Erin, I, too, am saddened by the lack of use our Subarus are getting right now. :( Up until a couple of years ago, we were devotees. Matter of fact, Tom had never owned anything BUT a Subaru.

    Then, our mechanic mentioned one day, "I can't BELIEVE you two have never had problems with the head gaskets on your cars! They are NOTORIOUS for going on Subarus! Matter of fact, I haven't serviced a single one that hasn't needed a head gasket replacement at one time or the other."

    Well, from his mouth to the mechanic god's ears. Within 6 months, both Subaru head gaskets went (which costs upwards of $1,000 to fix). We fixed the one on the Forester, but then the internal computer went belly-up and so we couldn't start the car w/o having unplugged the battery when we had last parked it (or it would drain the battery). THAT'S practical! (Not.) One thing led to another, we had no more money, and so the Forester is drivable if the battery gets unhooked each time we park it and then hooked back up each time we drive . . . but the automatic door locks still open-close-open-close at intervals of the car's choosing as we drive down the road.

    And, the nice, loaded '97 Outback lies dormant waiting for that new head gasket. It's the one that's going bye-bye tomorrow. That one was more Tom's car, so I won't be as sad to see it leave, but I sure do love my little '99 Forester!

  5. you have 2??? awesome! I have heard of the head gasket thing occasionally but not anymore than I hear of other things, like transmissions in Jeeps, etc. We have an '08 Outback, '98 Forester, and little '93 Justy. Love em!

  6. Oh, yes...Ill winds. I believe the Santa Ana winds (also known for causing some of the worst forest fires in the SouthWest) are positive-ion winds. When I was going to grad school in Colorado, there were similar winds that came through--usually in the Spring--that would just set everyone's nerves on edge. Here in Maine I've only felt them once or twice. I suspect they're more common far inland, away from salt water.

    Have you ever heard of halide (salt crystal) lamps? They're often sold in New-Agey shops, but if you're in need of a negative-ion generator, I believe they're a good option. Besides, the big salt crystals can't help but look pretty, all lit up from the inside.

  7. Hey W.-
    Though my grandfather does still make syrup, I've never been as involved in that as I wish I was. :( However, I figured you had a very good reason for what you were up to. You're pretty smart! I thought about you lots today. Almost suggested a drive up your way to Dan, but then J. and H. came over for a while. It was so great to see N. (and J and H, of course). She was such a charmer today. I think she's getting used to being the center of attention! :) Hugs!

  8. Would a drippy faucet or a running toilet count as listening to running water? Because the housing gods in Cairo provide both of those (sometimes simultaneously) for free!


  9. Did you do anything different? I can't view any of your photos from the last two posts today, not your header either?! What gives with that? foxylady

  10. Foxy Lady, I'm having the same problem with blogs I'm trying to read. I think it must be something wrong on Blogger's end. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, tho!


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