Happy Sunday morning all:

Weekly wisdom:

“…it’s a character changer is a hat. It’s also a life saver.” Anonymous

First off, a shout-out wishing a Happy Sixth Birthday to Dinah who is celebrating today. Next, a well deserved mug of steaming hot Sunday morning coffee.

So, I have received phone calls to check if all was well since I did not post yesterday morning. Sorry about that. Yes, all was/is well, just busy.

Maple Syrup – Early yesterday morning the temperature was below freezing and with the resultant wind-chill it was bone damaging, especially when being outside. Yet, that is exactly where we were, at our nearby local 1,500 acre park, Mount Airy Forest. Marcia, Adrianne, Vili, Vai, Tevita, and I had all packed into the truck and were off for two hours and a half of learning the history of, and the how-too of tapping Maple Syrup. Our hats (plus winter jackets, heavy boots, and gloves) were all life savers.

We even got to taste the sap as it was collected, just made maple tea, maple syrup, and maple candy. Something as much enjoyed by the kids as by the adults. But let’s back up.

Upon arrival we played a few outdoor games while waiting for the lodge to be set for our pancake and sausage breakfast with maple syrup. Vili quickly ‘mastered’ “flap-jack flipping” using a fiberglass pancake in his little skillet. Vai, had to touch the turtle shell and fox fur. I completed the task of dropping a clothes pin from chest height into a small-mouthed gallon jug. All played in the cold.

Then, and now absolutely ready, went inside where we all dove into a stack of pancakes and sausage; only to be followed by a trip back for more. All buttoned up a hay wagon took us for the nearly a mile-long ride to the Arboretum area where the learning would take place. Guides in original costume, fire pits to heat the sap, all added to the learning experience.

The normally reserved Vai amazed us by volunteering for every task where a volunteer was needed. She became a human maple tree to help explain how trees change with the seasons. She used forked sticks to pick up ‘hot’ rocks used by the native population for cooking. She turned an old-timey drill to place a tap, and a wooden mallet to place the little jig in the hole. Heading home the adults just stared ahead, while Vili cried heartily as his little cold toes and fingers began to thaw; any conversation would have been drowned out anyway.

Did I say we had a wonderful time? Well, we did; even Vili thought so after a long nap in his warm bed. The photos will do a better job of explaining:

Auction – Over the winter Marcia has had a fun time watching and occasionally bidding on sales managed by a local company who holds their auction sales on-line.

The ‘Nati’s football team, the Bengals, had a premier wide receiver who spent his whole career playing in our town. From 1973–1984 Isaac Curtis was the clutch player who, in his prime, ran the 100 yard dash faster that Jesse Owens – 9.30 seconds. He and his wife have also been our nearby neighbors.

Now, with kids raised, it was time to move back west and back to where they were raised. This week all the furnishings were put up for auction.

Marcia made a list and won a couple of rugs (a pair of very nice and labeled runners). She gave up on a circular rug early on in the bidding. With one minute left before close of bidding she lost out on a replacement chair for one of ours killed by Vinnie-the-cat. The item had not moved for the previous couple of hours, she had the high bid and had placed a ‘max’ bid thus creating a decent buffer—she was confident. To be bumped out of contention at the final minute caused that loss to hurt since it would have been the perfect replacement.

Oh well, that is the life of on-line bidding.

Animal Planet – Our neighbors think that just because we spent time in Canada that that makes me an expert in things nature. This week I was asked to identify a pair of unusual birds setting up house in a back yard tree. Marcia took the phone call and immediately offered my services. Luckily it was a distinct enough pair so that identification was not an issue. Our neighborhood now has a resident pair of Redshouldered Hawks.

Fini – Next week there will NOT be a post on Saturday; Marcia and I will be enroute to Austin, TX. It should be an adventure of note and I look forward to sharing the details with you – possibly on Sunday morning.

Make it a great week everyone.

Cheers,
Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, March 12, 2005

Morning all:

This morning viewing from a spy satellite Shang and I would have looked like three small black blotches on a field of white as we shuffled to the sidewalk to pick up the paper. Three? Yes three; Shang, myself, and one very large mug of coffee. Last weekend I spend several hours wielding my chain saw getting the yard ready for its spring glory. This morning it’s covered with snow. I am tired of winter.

Before going much further, the official vote from last week is in. All I can say is that America is wonderful by allowing you to cast a vote for yourself. My deciding vote did put me over the top. Actually for you naysayers, had you done the in-depth research as one of you did (no names here Paul), a “yes” vote would have been an absolute no-brainer.

Actually, the shoe thing is much like the food rule. Even though 78% of people say it isn’t safe to eat once fallen, there are those who live by the “three-second”, “five-second” or even “ten-second” rule (USA Today snapshot). This week I got told that it was just totally gross, all the way to “ok” if the interior was still perfect. It was a fun experiment to watch the reactions. By the way, the shoes are great.

I have jumped, with both feet, into something called “podcasting”. This is a new method for radio stations to provide better customer service. Traditional radio “pushes” their content at you—it is produced and broadcast. If of interest you make the time to tune in and listen. Podcasting allows you to “pull” the broadcast into your mp3 player whenever it is both of interest and definitely at your convenience. I now have the very best and my favorite shows ready for listening when Shang and I take our walks, or while flying, etc. The content is current and listen when I have the time to enjoy it. And, it doesn’t matter where in the world I am, I can quickly and easily “capture” new show updates. If podcasting is of interest to you, drop me a note and I’ll get you started, Marcia made me swear I would not bore you here with the dry technicalities.

Marcia and I talked with Adrianne and later that same evening Cathy and Jason spent time with her. It sounds like the heat/humidity in Tonga was doing a bit of a number on her. She mentioned that she had gotten into her Peace Corps medical kit to fish around for a de-hydration pill. Yesterday her promised photo CD and another CD with music arrived. If anyone would like a copy drop a note and I’ll burn it. As far as photos are concerned, jump over to her blog and into her Photo Album. Here you’ll find three small new albums; her house, her scuba diving, and shopping. The last will give a good idea of how her Saturday shopping expedition looks and the variety of goods and vegetables she has access to.

Now, since I am about ready to get miserable, you have no right to stay happily enjoying your weekend, join the misery—DO YOUR TAXES! But, maybe first I’ll take Shang on a walk and listen to this week’s podcast edition of the Urban Man.

Have a great week.

Cheers,
Dirk

2 Responses to “Auctions and Syrup”
  1. Pieter pastoor Says:

    Pancakes and sausage – reading that before breakfast and now that’s all I can think about – so I peddled to the store and bought some sausage – made pancakes – a perfect breakfast – thank you

  2. Neanners Says:

    Thanks for the yummy pancake breakfast that greeted me when I got up! It bring back memories of going on a similar trip with Oakley’s class a couple of years ago. Brrrrrrrrr