Today was so warm and lovely...it finally felt like spring. It's back to 40's and 50's for the rest of the week, but I'll take what I can. It's so amazing watching children on a warm spring day...it's almost as if you can see them sprout upward toward the light. They examine every little thing, roll in the grass, feel the dirt in their hands, watch the clouds, explore, run and run and run with smiles that span their entire face. We've been doing just those things for the past few days ...enjoying the stretching and movement that is allowed when we shed the layers of winter clothing that have kept us bundled up tight for months (...and months and months...).
Last spring we jumped from winter right into summer, it seemed. And
this year, spring has been sooooo slooooow to get here. At least that's
what it feels like. Here in the Northeast, we believe anything above
freezing constitutes short sleeves. Well...almost. We've had a few days
in the 50's, and that's a good reason for us to be outside all day. Even
40's and sun feels like a treat. So, here's what early Spring looks
like around here:
A sweet wee friend of ours had a little birthday a few days ago, and this is what we made for her. It's a pattern I have used a few times, and has become a favorite because it's easy. It's the Quilted Garden Tote, which can be found (for free! Yay!) here. I've never put the pockets on, but mostly because I've always been in a bit of a rush when I've made it. And I love it because I can use up scraps laying around...not that I have a lot of those laying around or anything...
Even though we have plenty of our own homemade syrup (well, enough to last a few months anyway...), Maine Maple Sunday is a tradition. The third Sunday of every March; I grew up with it, and it's something we look forward to every year. Last year, while in the midst of my Chronic Lyme crisis, our few hours spent at Goranson Farm were a highlight in a very difficult time. So, of course, we went back again this year. Free maple syrup sundaes, music and animals? Umm.....yes please.
And...the majority of the photos I have are from us enjoying said ice cream. I swear we did other things, but apparently my camera didn't know that.
In this long(ish) stretch between January and March, there is a lot of "down" time. Sick days, snow days, fireside days, and just plain cabin fever days. In those days, there is much knitting and sewing to be accomplished. Thank goodness for my never-ending queue of inspirational patterns on Ravelry...because you can never have too many handknits for your babies :)
I grew up in Maine. A few of my more vivid memories from when I was a little girl involve fresh Maple Syrup, visiting sugar shacks of family members in various parts of the State, and the scent of boiling sap. I have felt a sense of urgency for my children to have similar memories, and although it meant a lot of work, for not-so-much material (or...liquid) reward, it has been worth every moment.
As we don't have enough sugar maples on our property, we've been tapping the trees on my parents' land, which, incidentally, is not an easy place to get to. But, that hike up over the big hill (and back again...over and over and over....), that first taste of sap from the first drilled hole, and the first "plunk" in the bucket (like a heartbeat, no?)...all part of the memory.
That first batch of syrup, though small, was like liquid gold. The children were allowed to stay up a little later than usual for "sugar on snow". I hope that memory stays with them forever, along with the others. I know they will for me.
Did I mention I don't actually like Maple Syrup? Criminal, I know.
Mother Nature apparently has a sense of humor about these things. Today being the first day of spring and all, it would have just been too easy to have a warm(er) day with the sun shining and birds singing in the change of season. Oh no...that would have been too predictable. So, instead, we are marveling at how overnight the bare ground, just waking up, is again covered in about 7 inches of snow. It will be gone soon, I have no doubt, but boy was I ready.
So, a little longer. A little more time. The calm before the flurry of springtime activity and awakening. A little more time to spend crafting inside. A little more time for building snow people. A little more time for boiling down sap for syrup. A little more time spent preparing for what's ahead.