Mindfulness and maple syrup

Call me a modern day pioneer woman.

For my birthday, I received a book called “Modern Pioneering“. The author, Georgia Pellegrini, is a cook, gardener, outdoor adventurer and do-it-yourself kind of gal.  As someone who just got her own Leatherman multi-tool (the Charge AL model, just in case you were wondering), I can identify with her.

In the spirit of self-sufficiency, I’m making my own maple syrup.  This is the third year that my husband and I have done it.  So Canadian, eh?

We collected the sap from three silver maple trees by tapping them with spigots and hanging buckets.  This year’s cold winter and intermittent thaws produced a bumper crop.  There’s a lot of sap to boil down.  It’s work but makes for a great way to wind down after a steady week at the clinic.

I sit and write, watching the sap boil on the propane burner.
I am forced to be mindful, watching the pot, making sure to adjust the flame so there is just enough simmer and no over-boiling.
I skim off the foam.
I notice how the steam curls into the cool Spring air.
And the drizzling rain makes it all just a little more interesting.

It’s just like waiting for bread dough to rise.  You can’t make a pot boil faster by watching it.

The whole set-up needs gentle but constant tending.  Last year, I burned the pot when I stepped away as the syrup was just finishing off.  Nothing like coming back to a black, bubbling, baked-on mess. I had to throw that pot out.  I swore that I wouldn’t let all that hard work go to waste again.

I’m anticipating the sweet, syrupy goodness that awaits in the final product.  We should make at least 3 L of maple syrup, which will last all year long.  It’s a precious commodity (sorry Aunt Jemimah fans, this is practically liquid gold). I only share it with those foodies that will appreciate the effort.

Now what other pioneer girl project should I tackle, using my Leatherman multi-tool? Onwards!

VIN 2013 Mindfulness Retreat

I’d forgotten my iPhone in the front seat of the truck, which meant my husband had to turn around and drop it off to me at the train station.  As he passed me the phone, he said “You’re going to work on your mindfulness this weekend, right?”.  Yeah.

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Thanksgiving 2013

My school teacher friend was excited to show me a book from the “We Day” event she’d attended with her students in Toronto.  The book gave page upon page of problems that North American kids might complain about.  Like no Wifi in the bathroom stall.  Or having your latte order butchered.  Stuff that might bring down the day for a kid.  Craig and Marc Kielburger tell kids they need to put this all in perpsective, while not talking down to them.  Just watch the video about “My Grandma follows me on Twitter” and it’ll have you laughing and thinking all at the same time.

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