St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Signs of Spring

Spent Monday at the Luck museum -- my volunteer day is normally 1-4 pm.   I ended up staying until past 5 because the clocks there had not been set ahead, and fooled me.  Margo, whose memory is better than mine, did the car clock.  You push some buttons, hold them for x seconds and push some more and then it is right.  

Sunday thru Tuesday were 40s and even into the 50s one day, and so I put out the first maple sap pail.   Tap holes are good for only 5-6 weeks, and seasons can last until the end of April (last year), so you don't tap ahead of time or you might miss some of the sap flow.  However, one bucket on a proven tree, easy to get to, is necessary to let you know when they start. No dripping yet. 

Last year, several neighbors tapped the maples on the lake 40 and got involved with syruping when Margo and I had decided not to do it (Margo's cancer treatment and my Myasthenia Gravis had us under the weather).   It ended up that Scott and I were up for part of the season, one of the best ever, and so we all shared in the syrup.       The previous year, when nephew Bryce and friends tapped them, the whole season run was 8 gallons (vs 50 last year).  This year we are going to try to do it as a group effort with several volunteers helping out for a share of the syrup.  Will be interesting to see how it works--poor season and they may be disappointed.  However, a poor season means little work as not much to do.  

The deer are having a difficult winter here in NW Wisconsin with the very deep snow.  I feed a dozen pheasants and some birds, and up to 7 deer show up to clean up their leavings.   Here in this area, a couple of years ago, a deer was found with chronic wasting disorder, and we are under strict orders not to feed deer as that brings them into contact and may help spread the disease.  So, as much as Margo and I would like to feed them.  However we have an small orchard and the deer browse the twigs and some apples that are left on the trees and fall in a wind.  

The deer are yarding up (in the orchard)

Almost due east sunrise

Found a single small shed antler in the orchard Tuesday.  It looked fresh on top of the snow, so maybe recent--although this is very late for that to happen.  
Deer shed found in the orchard -- 4 points

The yard is deliciously muddy after 4 months of harsh winter
 The yard got wet and muddy with melting snow; the snow dropped from 2-3 feet to 1-2 feet; the sun comes up almost in the due east early and stays late; and Margo and I have spring pushing us into thinking about flower beds, gardening and of course syruping. 

Water flowing down stream

The test maple sap bucket is hung

Geranium seed -- very tiny

Yesterday we planted another 100 geranium seeds and about 60 wave petunias.   The sun room (dining area off the kitchen) has the south and east walls of windows and makes a nice inside greenhouse.  Mom loved lots of flowers and a big garden, but had to cut back in her last few years as she got into her 90s.  Hopefully Margo and I have another 20 years of playing in the dirt. 

Saturday 10 am at the Cushing Community center another spring ritual -- planning for the 76th Annual Sterling Old Settler's picnic.  I usually volunteer to be in charge of the Kool Aid.