knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It’s all fun and games until someone loses their sense of humor… (a cautionary tale)

Sunday, 8:00 pm

The Grand Weekend Plan did not go at all according to plan. In fact, it was a Murphy’s Law kind of weekend. I guess that I deserved it, really. Weekends should not be micro-managed down to the last minute. I think I incurred the wrath of the chaos fairies. Because whooboy, am I ever paying for it.

Let’s see. Friday night was good. I went to the gym, then went home, changed, and picked up Murphy. We were at the sugarhouse by 8pm. The boiling had commenced around 5pm, and we were all excited about how much sap had run. We had over 200 gallons, and the line from outside continued to trickle in all night long. We boiled all night. As in, I finally left at 4:30 in the morning, and Glenn boiled until 8. We drew 8 gallons of syrup.

After a few hours of sleep, I got up and began the Saturday Plan. I did laundry. I did the bare minimum of house chores. It was my turn to provide dinner, so I began beans and chicken…stuff that could be transported and finished at the sugar house. I did not even look at the garden stuff. No matter, that was what Sunday was for, anyway. By 4pm, I was on my way back to the sugar house, with garden stuff, knitting, dinner, and a fully-charged ipod. Life was looking good. I stopped on the way for a couple bottles of wine and some chap stick.

Glenn & Creed (each working on four hours of sleep or less) were out collecting sap. Carmelita was just beginning the boil. I settled in and we brought some wood into the shack, and cleaned the tables off. You can’t imagine how quickly things get sticky and gross in there, despite all our efforts.

There’s a funny thing that happens to boys in the sugar house. They cannot bear not to be testing, skimming, loading wood, or anything that keeps them active and involved in the boil. So, basically, when they’re there, Carmelita & I are reduced to auxiliaries. We’re there if we’re needed, but don’t have much else to do. So we cracked a bottle of wine and I taught Carmelita how to play cribbage.

Here endeth life according to the Weekend Plan.

A while later, we grilled the chicken and had dinner. Spirits were high. Carmelita and I started the second bottle of wine. The boys pretty much passed out what with the lack of sleep and full bellies, so the girls were back in charge. We’re getting pretty good at it, and things went smoothly. I am trying to lean how to split wood. I learned that you can make up a dance that involves bringing an ax down onto kindling. That was fun.

The first small calamity occurred. I was in a tank top since it was so hot, and while loading wood, the top part of my arm brushed the arch doors. I got a huge black streak, and a tiny burn underneath. Then, an hour or so later, while trying to make my way back over to where I was splitting wood, I had so step over a big pile of kindling stacked right next to the arch, where the wood gets loaded. I didn’t make it all the way over. I stepped on a piece of wood that shifted. I wobbled, And then the chaos fairies struck. On autopilot, my hand shot out to steady myself against the nearest solid object. Which was the arch. You know, the blazingly hot, wood-fired metal tank that can (and does) turn from black to red when it gets sizzling.

It was only for a split second, and for the first ten minutes, I thought it was fine. I mean it hurt, but not so bad. I grabbed some snow from outside and stuck my hand against it until the snow melted. But after half an hour, it began to hurt like hell. So what do I do? The stupidest thing I could have devised. I open the third bottle of wine, which Carmelita does not split with me, Because, you know, what better thing to have on hand when you’re looking to take your mind off your black and throbbing palm? Cold wine! It’s not unusual to have an entire bottle over the course of a long evening, but almost two bottles?? Ugh.

There was no warning when I got drunk. And dizzy. I was fine, chagrined, but fine. We took some fun pictures and grooved to the tunes. Then I was not fine. And it was not helping keep my mind off my hand, which by now was so painful that I was going through a bowl of icewater every five minutes.

Thankfully, by the time my motor skills were affected, the boys were awake again. Did I mention that while the girls were boiling, we never drew once? More on that later. Glenn was good enough to take me home, where a hot shower and an ice pack were waiting. It was 4am (again).

Needless to say (perhaps) Sunday has been an absolute loss. I haven’t had a hangover this bad in a year. I’ve gone back to bed twice. I have no appetite. And now I get to deal with my hand, which is blistered and blackened from the sooty arch. I can’t knit. I can’t open a jar. I certainly can’t handle a hoe. So no spinach. Woe is me.

Ordinarily, I’d be feeling really guilty that my lack of sense prevented me from assuming my portion of the sugaring duties, especially today, being a weekend. But no need. Because we’re screwed. Creed stayed awake boiling until 8 or 9 this morning. He finally drew, but says that instead of Grade A or even B (which we’re all personally fond of), he’s calling it Grade X. It’s sludge. Also, the boiling pan that sits on top of the arch is garbage. We killed it. It got burnt last night some time, and worse, the places where we had it repaired this winter have come undone. We’re leaking sap into the fire (hence the not drawing for hours on end) and basically it’s dead. We need a new pan. Pronto.

So here we are. Can’t say it’s been the best weekend. Eventful, yes. Happy, no. Unless we can find a pan (and some money to buy it with) we’re going to have to sell the sap. No more boiling. I feel so bad for the boys. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they’ve both put days worth of work into tapping and running line, and now we don’t even get the brief satisfaction of making our own syrup. It’s a shame. They’re so excited about sugaring. We all are. I’m sure it will work out somehow, but sheesh.

I’ve left the picture of my hand for the end, in case anyone doesn’t really want to see it. It’s ouchy. My head is also ouchy. Go me.


At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Lizziebell said...

Whew! I didn't check for a few days and now there are all sorts of updates! A few things:

Number one: Owchie! Sorry about your hand! If I was there, I would kiss it to make it feel better. No, that is a lie. It looks nasty. But I would definitely be very sympathetic and possibly give you some neosporin.

Number two: I am super super bummed that we cannot do the beach house with you this summer. Maybe next year if there are no new bambinos!

That is all. Take care of my Melinda, OK?

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Auntie Amanda said...

Oh my! that burn looks horrible! I hope you are better soon...


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