St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Snow

Did you know the Norwegians have 3 different names for snow?   The names translate into:  Snow, Uffda Snow and Uffda Snow yah sure ya betcha!  
Well this morning at 6:30 I heard rain or snow pelting the roof just above me in the sleeping loft.  It brought me back from a pleasant dream of sitting in the maple shack cooking maple syrup, basking in the warmth of the wood fire.  Actually, the electric blanket was turned up, and the cabin was cold, the fire having gone out. 
  When Margo isn't here, I fire a little a night, and let it go out when the temps are freezing or above, and then start a pine slab fire in the morning to warm it up.  No need to go down and throw in wood in the middle of the night with the electric blanket still not turned all the way up.  
   It was 34 outside and 42 inside.  The ground was bare, except for a little sugar snow on the toilet walk, the scenic stroll from cabin to bathroom.  
Sugar snow at 6:30 this morning at the cabin
Looking out over the lake, the ice was still wet looking, the woods still brown.  
Most of the snow is gone at the cabin, the lake is still frozen over, but is open where the creek comes in and leaves.  A hint of white in the brown grass at 6:40 am from the sugar snow and a touch of rain. 
By 7:40, the snow had started coming down.  
By 8 am the ground was getting white
By 9 am it was snowing hard with about an inch on the ground
and by 9:30 the snow was easing off, bigger flakes though.  Temp had dropped to 29 degrees.

  Yesterday and the day before, I collected about 15 gallons of sap off of about 100 buckets. Most of the hillside trees haven't run at all yet.  I have about 50 gallons of sap on hand, but don't start cooking until I have 150 gallons.  I need that much so when it boils down the whole bottom of the 8 foot x 2 foot pan is covered.  Less sap, and I can't cook it all the way down.  

So my strategy this morning: build up the cabin woodstove fire to bring the cabin up to 60 degrees. slice and fry some baked potatoes left over from last night with mushrooms and tube steak sliced, add some toast and coffee and read the morning newspapers (I subscribe to the Star Tribune and New York Times online).  The rest of the morning is to work on the Sterling Settler's picnic 75th anniversary book.  I am stalling working on that right now;-)

I cleaned out the 1987 Ford F150 4x4 truck yesterday.  If it passes the "frame not in terrible shape" check, plan to have neighbor Chuck take it to his garage in Coon Rapids and put in a new clutch.  Chuck farms our cropland, and some of rent is by barter.  A 1987 vehicle driven in WI and MN during the winters, gets the full salt effect, so even though the engine works fine, the body looks about like a 1946 model person feels.   Parked it right by the driveway entrance so if the snow gets deep, can put it in 4-wheel drive and slip out to Cushing for emergency supplies.  The clutch only slips in 4th gear going up a hill or flooring the gas pedal--so lower gears are OK.  I think oil is leaking from the rear bearing onto the clutch causing the problem.  
   My myasthenia gravis has been in remission for a few months, so I  am able to do most anything I need to with maple syruping.  Am finally fully off of prednisone waiting for either the MG to come back, or find out I am in a true drug-free remission (15% chance). In the meantime it is good to feel mostly normal again.  My 1 year old new knee is working pretty good too.  Now if my memory would kick in that would be helpful.  Keep meeting folks I should know and I can't remember them or their names until they remind me. I always had a problem with names and faces anyway, and it has gotten worse, at least according to my friends.   Last one I forgot was a lovely lady who seemed very familiar--her name was Margo, but just couldn't place her.  Must have been the new short hair style she has.