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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Mindfulness Meditation with VIN

My worlds are colliding.

Family.  Friends.  Work.  Yoga.   I have a tendency to keep these parts of my life separate, in that they don’t seem to mingle much.  For some reason, I don’t tend to mix them all together into one big jumble.  I’m not opposed to it.  Maybe it’s happened because I’m a little introverted and prefer to keep certain things to myself.

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Something left over for me

I’m physically tired.

There’s been a lot going on.  I had appointments on Saturday AM, then was off to the clinic’s summer party in the afternoon.  I taught two yoga classes on Sunday and did yard work for the remainder of the day.  Back at the clinic the next morning then babysat my nephew for a few hours (changed his diaper twice!!).  Tuesday, I did some research on an interesting case involving hind leg lameness in a very sweet Doberman.

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When Spring appears, I let it

“When it rains, I let it.”

~113 year old man in response to a question on the secret of his longevity

Do you notice when the seasons change?  For me, I mark this time of year with the first appearance of bluebells, daffodils and the magnificence of my neighbour’s magnolia tree in full bloom.  I awaken to the birds as they sing in the morning.  I watch the rain fall into puddles, listen to the wind howl through the trees and observe how the lightning dances across the darkened sky.

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