Musings of an everyday woman . . .

Reflections on living and loving life . . .

Aloha Friday #8! June 5, 2009

Filed under: Aloha Friday,Food — everydaywomanusa @ 5:12 am
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It’s Friday again, so that means it’s time for . . .

I just LOVE what Kailani  is doing over at An Island Life with “Aloha Friday.”

In Hawaii, she says, “Aloha Friday is the day when we take it easy and look forward to the weekend.  So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.”

I can’t really say that Friday is any less frantic than any other day of the week here, but I like the idea.  Wouldn’t you love to be on “island time?”

I’m participating in Kailani’s  Aloha Friday and I thought I’d bring a bit of the islands to Everydaywoman.  I’ll be posting a simple question to stir up a little conversation before the weekend.  If you’d like to participate, please respond to the question in a comment, and feel free to post your own question on your blog and leave your link below.  Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My “Aloha Friday” question this week is: 



Sunday Stroll: Tapping Trees March 8, 2009

Late February/early March is the time we get busy with tapping Maple trees in the Northeast, depending on what the weather’s doing.  In order to have a productive run with sap, to transform into sweet, sticky, amber syrup, you need freezing temps at night and thawing temps during the day.

Due to a bunch of storms and a really cold snap that hung around, we waited until March to tap our Maple trees here on the farm.


Our youngest, Nathaniel, drills the holes for the quills/taps.  We used to use a hand-powered drill, but now a battery-operated drill speeds up the job.


Our older son, Jonathan, hammers in the taps and adjusts the line.


My DH makes some adjustments to the main sap pipeline.


As always, Duke find a comfortable spot from which he can supervise the work!


We also use traditional pails and quills to collect sap from our maples.


On this warm, spring-like day, the snow is quickly melting and the sap is dripping practically in a constant stream, almost like a slow-dripping faucet.


When the buckets are full of sap, we collect the precious liquid and haul it to the Sugar House, where we cook it down into syrup.  When you see steam and smoke escaping, you know the wonderful transformation is taking place!


The long process from sap to syrup takes place in the wood-fired evaporater.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of sweet maple syrup!


It’s a long process that requires lots of man-power and wood-power and you must be patient!  When we finish a fresh batch, there’s nothing better than to sample the sweet stuff over hot pancakes or johnnycake!


A stroll around the farm just isn’t complete without a stop to say hi to our newest addition, Annabelle.  She’s due to deliver a foal in August, which we’re very excited about!



I also came upon Nathaniel using his mini-excavator to clean up Annabelle’s pasture, making more room for her and her friends.  They’re enlarging the fenced-in pasture space, complete with new fence posts, so Nate’s excavator was perfect for pulling out the old posts.   I just know that Annabelle and her baby will love their new space!


To see who else is strolling on this lovely March day, stop by the Quiet Country House.


Dining Out “Green” February 15, 2009

We had the pleasure of enjoying a Valentines Day dinner with another couple at the first “certified green restaurant” in our little neck of the world.  My good friend made reservations at Donovan’s Reef, telling me that she knew I’d appreciate their environmentally-aware techniques because she’d just seen a news story on their green efforts.

What does it mean, exactly, to earn the designation of  “certified green restaurant” from the Green Restaurant Association?


Well, Donovan’s Reef has been in business for 20 years, but it recently decided to work toward lessening its environmental impact, showing that even established restaurants can change their habits and implement new practices.   Donovan’s began working with the national non-profit (GRA)  in July 2008, to incorporate sustainability into the day-to-day operation of the restaurant.

So far, the restaurant has accomplished 11 steps under the GRA guidelines,  including installing energy-efficient lighting, low-flow faucet aerators in the kitchen to conserve water, and a full-scale recycling program.  The restaurant is now also composting food waste.

I dined on a delicious dinner of Lobster Pie, while my Valentine enjoyed his NY Strip (as per usual:  seafood for me, beef for him, when we’re out) and call it my imagination, but I think it tasted even better knowing the restaurant is practicing “green dining.”  Also, the price was right in line, if not more economical, than other restaurants serving similar fare in our area that aren’t certified by the GRA.

Oh, and another thing that would please our daughter, the environmental science teacher,  is the leftover beef we brought home for Duke and Eddie, was packaged in a recycled, cardboard-type of container, not polystyrene foam (aka Styrofoam) products.  They absolutely loved it!  I know that Abbie is also interested in how much of the food they serve at Donovan’s is LOCAL, so I’m checking into that as well . . . I might even invite her to join me there for lunch . . .