St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Syrup Barch 2 and Margo prepares for Surgery

Scott and I took off batch 2 of the maple syrup season --about 6 gallons this time.  Added to the 4 gallons of the first batch, we are officially 1/2 of a normal syrup season, even though the trees never have run very heavy yet.  

With only 75 buckets out this year (we are retrenching as Margo has back surgery the 2nd of April and we are likely to be hovering around Rochester Mayo for a week or so), and the normal bucket yield of 1 quart per tap hole, we should get about 19 gallons in a normal year.  So the 10 gallons means we are at least 1/2 way there.  

I use an old Cub Cadet for hauling wood at the lake when the Ford tractor is tied up with the sap tank.  Got it out and hauled a load yesterday and noticed the front right tire was showing tube.  Now, showing boob can be a good thing even appreciated by old guys, but showing a little tube is not good.   
The 40 year old tires have gotten rotten and started to split.  So it is off to the store sometime to get a new 4.80/4.00-8 set of front tires.  These have tubes in them even though originally they are labelled "tubeless."   

Spring and fall are the favorite times to cut wood on the farm as the temps are not too warm or cold and we can get around in the woods fine.  We plan to use part wood heat on the farm if we winter here next season.  

Margo spent Thursday having pre-surgery checks and all is OK for Tuesday, April 2, surgery on her upper back/neck.  The plan is to put in a metal scaffold to straighten, spread and strengthen the backbone so it doesn't deteriorate more and no longer pinches the spinal cord causing intense pain all of the time.  They also will take bone from her hip to add to the existing structure to firm things up.  

The operation is much like what one does to a building, like a barn, with a sagging roof (yes, I am still working on getting the barn back in shape--but slowly).  

The plan:  Margo has surgery Thursday, stays in St Mary's hospital in Rochester until Monday, we take her to Barron hospital for a couple of weeks of rehab and then she will be home later in April for up to a year of recovery.  The biggest hope is that this second operation (first was to fix the lower back) will relive the constant pain and let her get back to living normally again.   Barron is part of the Mayo system and as I spent most of my life as a Mayo employee, our Mayo supplemental health insurance pays better if we stay in the Mayo system.