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Hey hey // The birds are back to stay.
Too long, didn't read:
Snow is disappearing, birds are back in throngs, and we got a larger solar panel. Scroll on down to the bottom for this week's reading list.
All good things must be tempered by a dose of reality, and so it was this weekend. I drove over to Portland, Maine, on Saturday as the sun rose and plenty of snow clung still to the ground, deeper in the lower fields and the sun-starved northern slopes, while last year’s brown leaves and grass lay flattened and exposed in those blessed warm spots. I imagine all the snow will be gone in three days. (Don’t quote me on that.)
 
When I left on Saturday it felt like the mushy tail-end of winter. When I returned on Sunday afternoon, birds resounded. The season had definitively changed. If there is a sound of spring (and of course there is), it is the chit-chat of robins, the rough call of the catbirds, all of whom scattered from the clearing upon my (more importantly, probably, the dogs’) return to this little yurt clearing of ours. Too, a pair of married cardinals, red and brown, split off into the woods. Perhaps they were only common-lawed, I don’t understand the lives of birds, but hey, they were beautiful. They were dominating of the scene. They were definitive. Spring, friends. Spring, finally.
 
And then? And then Monday morning snow. I don’t want to be dramatic. It was only a dusting, for a few hours. But this is the dose of reality to temper the excitement for spring. Ease into it. Don’t leap. The forecast ahead retains nights below freezing. Take it easy, don’t get too excited. There’s a snowflake in the forecast for Friday. True summer warmth is a ways off. (But it will come.) That is the weather forecast.
 
Our own personal forecast holds other realities: Finishing the last of the maple sap, we’ll move on to birch syrup, which sap starts running after the maples. Conveniently, so we can pull the taps and buckets from the maple trees and use the same equipment for the birch trees.
 
Another reality: Not carrying our battery up and down the hill to charge at the office. We’ve expanded our solar setup with another, larger panel (also from PowerFilm). This new one is 120W, plus our existing 60W, means we have 180W of capture capacity. Living large, eh?
 
If you are scared of birds, I wish you the best this spring. This is their season, and perhaps you should remain inside until they have settled in their excitement into the smooth groove of summer. For myself, I will wash in the birds’ songs and eagerly await that smooth groove, when the sun swings high overhead, when for half the day my shadow is near indiscernible from my feet (exaggeration, sure), when I can wet my feet and myself in the creek and the river and the pond. When, for that matter, I can bathe anywhere I like without fear of hypothermia or frostbite.

What we're reading

I just ate a maple iced, pecan, and bacon donut. Jealous?
Kevin + Annie + Henry + Holly


P.S. Made a short video of the sap evaporator setup, just for kicks. More on the new solar setup next week.
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