The Sweetest Time of Year

Spring in Maine has (kind of) arrived, and with it comes sap time! We decided to try tapping the maple trees on the property this year, seeing as it had been done successfully before and the supplies were on hand. We did stop and buy a few used buckets with covers at a nearby maple farm, scrubbed them out, and we were ready to start the process. We drilled a small hole in the selected tree about four feet off the ground, pounded the tap into the tree, hung the bucket from the tap and slid the cover on.Viola! The tree was tapped. Almost immediately, in some cases, sap began flowing out of the hole.Shane had a great time, doing most of the drilling and tapping, while I stood back with Nora in the ergo, trying to keep snow out of my boots. (Hey, it's deep in some places!)Barkley, ever the protective dog, kept a watchful eye on us as we traveled from tree to tree, occasionally disappearing to track a suspicious scent. It's hazardous out here, you know.We finished up and headed back to the house. After working so hard, Nora was positively exhausted. Being nine months is hard work, don't you think?Of course, it will take more work to make this sugar-water sap into syrup, but don't worry, we'll chronicle the progress for you. For now, though, I'm happy to relax and listen to the slow drip of the maple tree.Have a delightful week, everyone!


All by myself...

Well, not really. I've got Nora and Barkley here to keep me company all weekend, though we are housebound. We decided to stay at the house this weekend while Shane is working. I'm not sure what, exactly, we will do with our time until Shane returns in about forty-eight hours, but we'll figure out something. At the moment, I've got a sleeping, snotty, sick baby on my lap. This weekend might not be as fun as I had hoped.
There isn't really a lot going on here, otherwise. It's nice to just have a day at home, finally. I only wish Shane could have stayed home and relaxed with us. Ah well, thus is the life of the overworked and underpaid! I can't feel too bad for him, though, after turning on the camera this morning and finding an array of crude self-portraits taken, I'm sure, just to annoy me. What a sweet husband I have! (Sorry Shane, those won't be making it onto the blog!)
Before we say good-bye for the weekend, though, I'll post a few pictures from our morning spent with Kalen. He and Nora get along so great and are really interacting with each other now, which is fun to watch. Of course, if Planet Earth is playing, Kalen isn't interested in anything else, never mind Nora.
The piano, however, provides plenty of stimulation. I'm sure Kalen is glad that Nora can't climb up and play yet.
During his visit, Kalen and Nora found a new game to play with each other. Blowing raspberries has never been so fun- or so slimy.
I hope you have a way more interesting weekend than I will!! See you Monday!


The Real Deal

It's about time I gave you all a real post, so here we go...
We had a busy weekend, starting with an early Friday morning. Nora and I woke up early to bring Shane into work, then stayed in town all day so we could catch a ride with him down to his second job at the bistro. We tried to occupy ourselves for the seven or so hours we had until Shane was finished. At one point I just drove down to the water and took a few pictures. The wind was ferocious and it was about fifteen degrees out, but still, it was quite beautiful. (Kristin and Jay- you'll recognize this place.)
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny at Debbie's house where we were staying and Shane had the whole day to spend with us until he had to work at four. We drove over to Nick and Ally's place for a nice visit, then came back to the house and got ready for a walk. Nora loved every minute of it, of course, and got really excited when we found a duck pond.
Barkley didn't mind the nice walk either.
We walked down to Aunt Cindy's where the whole Jersey clan was up for an Easter visit. Shane had to leave for work, but after a nice nap, Nora and I came back for some egg dyeing and homemade pizza!
We drove home late Saturday night so that we could get over to Nanny and Grampy's house early to celebrate Easter. Nanny, Kalen and Nora sat excitedly on the top step, waiting for the okay to come downstairs and see what the Easter Bunny had left.
Once downstairs, the flashes started, and I don't think we stopped taking pictures for the next half hour. Were we overexcited? Maybe just a little. But come on, those are cute kids.
The rest of the morning was filled with eggs, chocolate, fish oil, socks, tomato seeds, and toys (the Easter Bunny brought a few presents for Shane, as well).
All in all it was a great Easter for the kids. As they get older, (and more arrive! In September! This is Tara I'm talking about, by the way!) I really look forward to setting out the baskets, writing notes to Mr. Bunny and having big egg hunts. For now, however, I'm perfectly satisfied with screams of delight from the two of them, runny noses (cold season has arrived at the Barker household!) and constantly chasing after them. They're worth it, of course.
Enjoy your Thursday!


I am so sorry...

It's been so long! And here I am to tell you it's going to be a bit longer. Sad news, I know, but things are surprisingly chaotic here. We haven't had a night home together since... Last Monday, I think! I had been gone from the house from Friday until late Monday night with Nora, and then yesterday we baby-sat for Kalen and had dinner at my parent's house. Today we're off to a midwives appointment for Tara, then we're picking Shane up from work and shooting up to town for a meeting, then I've got pilates. Honestly, I am really looking forward to tomorrow night. We have nothing planned, and as far as I know, I'll be home all day. Which means, (drum roll, please,) you'll be getting a real post tomorrow! Woohoo! Until then, have a great Wednesday everyone!


Welcome Spring! We're so excited you're finally here, bringing all your beautiful plants, birds, insects, and... Freezing rain?
What's up with that, Spring? I know we live in Maine, but come on, don't you think we've put up with enough of this 'wintry mix'? We want plain rain, sun, temperatures in the forties or even fifties! We even want the mud at this point.
But fine, if this is what you want to give us, we can handle it.
We've got steaming cups of tea,
warm, homemade challah,
soothing baths,
toys to entertain,
and a sweet, teething baby girl.
So bring it on Spring; you can't hold off forever. We'll wait.


I know, I know.

Yes, I understand it's computer-free Wednesday, but I just had to jump on here to post something I've been meaning to let you all know about. In June, during the weekend of Nora's birthday, Shane is taking part in the Trek Across Maine to raise funds for the American Lung Association. I know he will never ask everyone who reads this, but I have no shame! If you're interested in donating to the cause, click on this link and it should bring you right to his fund raising page. Thanks to everyone who has already donated- it's really wonderful of you all!


Today was one of those days that just never seemed to end, and yet, when the end finally arrived, I couldn't remember what I had actually accomplished! I sat at the computer this morning wondering what I could possibly post on this blog and came up empty handed. Of course, I won't be sitting at the computer tomorrow, so I'd better think of something to post about tonight.
Well, let's see. Maybe if I scan through our photos I can think of something to write about... Yup, that's right. Out of desperation, you guys get old pictures.
Ah yes, a few months ago I decided to make homemade pasta. Making pasta is a job in itself, never mind doing it with a baby fighting for your attention, but I did it anyway. It took a good amount of time, but Nora was a sweet girl and even managed to take a little snooze
Hmm, not much else is happening here. Nora and I took a trip into town this evening for some fabric and grocery shopping,then came home to an absolutely lovely, clean house thanks to Shane. Sometimes he really knows how to keep me sane. (Of course, we all know how good he is at driving me in the opposite direction...)
Have a great Wednesday, everyone. We'll try to do something a little more interesting in the next couple days!


This weekend Nora and I spend a lot of time with Nanny and Grampy while Shane was working down in southern Maine. We did some shopping, some visiting and some bird watching. Grampy bought Nora a new chair to sit in so we wouldn't have to hold her on our laps while we ate (and move everything within an eighteen inch radius away from her). She loved eating breakfast and watching the birds, especially her favorite:
Nora became very excited when these guys showed up, as you can see.
She is really starting to look like a little kid now, especially when she sits up in this seat. She loves being at the level of everyone around her. She also has a third tooth coming in; her top right tooth in the front is just about to break through.
She's pretty adorable, don't you think? And can you see any resemblance to either parent here??
Nora also is still loving her best friend, Barkley. The two love to stalk turkeys together. And paw at the window. And pound the glass.Enjoy your Monday!


Better late than never!

Right? Sorry to anyone waiting around for a post last night. Nora and I didn't get back to the house until close to eight-thirty after spending the day visiting the doctor's, then down to see Tara and Kalen with Grampy for an afternoon visit and then back up to Nanny and Grampy's house to visit with Hayley and Chris. Obviously the post I had intended for last night didn't happen, but it will now!
Tuesday afternoon Shane came home from work and said, 'Let's go for a walk!' Nora and I were slightly bored, so this sounded like a wonderful idea. We bundled up and headed up the hill behind the house. We passed the old hunting cabin and the rusted plow truck that seems permanently embedded in the snowbank. Shane and Nora jumped up into the bed of the truck and gave me a little pose.
From there we headed into the woods and followed the snowmobile trail until we reached an intersection. One path led to the remains of the oldest farm in Dixmont, another to a current working farm. I looked in my pocket, found a few dollars, and off we headed to the dairy farm down the hill.
Although it was nearing six o'clock, the sun was just starting to set brilliantly over the edge of the farm. We had to stop for a few moments to admire it.
We arrived at the farm, did our shopping (well, put our money in the box and took what we wanted) and headed off down the road that lead back to our house. On our way home we saw plenty of sugar maples ready for tapping (some already being tapped) and moving water, a sure sign of spring.
I was feeling a little neglected in the picture-taking department, so I snapped a little candid of myself.
Nora fell asleep on Shane's back near the end of the walk, exhausted from the bounty of fresh air. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and evening, and what beautiful weather.And the groceries we picked up at the farm? Nora's new favorite food: organic eggs, of course.
Have a great Friday everyone, and enjoy the weekend!


Back soon!

This morning we're off to a doctor's appointment for Nora's nine month check-up. We'll be back late this afternoon and put up a nice long post then. See you all later!


The next edition of Computer-Free Wednesday is on it's way, so of course I had to put together a second post tonight for your enjoyment. Let me warn you all ahead of time- this will be a picture-heavy post. Nora was exuding an overwhelming amount of cuteness today and I couldn't resist snapping a few (hundred) shots. Thank goodness we have a digital camera. Otherwise we would end up just like someone (on the left), storing years worth film on a dusty bookshelf until we remembered to bring them in for development. Instead we store thousands of pictures on the computer until we remember to bring them to Target to print out. Maybe technology hasn't brought us as far forward as we once thought...
Okay, on to the photo-palooza. Our first set of shots features a sweet pair of overalls given to Grandma by Aunt Sandie years ago when Shane was little. These finally fit Nora for the most part. The legs are a little long, but they don't ride up like all the other overalls we have, and gosh darn it, they're cute!
Our next picture montage will include the late lunch of peas, mint and applesauce Nora enjoyed this afternoon. Usually I wouldn't combine these items, but I only had one frozen cube of peas and mint left and tons of applesauce. Usually, Nora doesn't care for applesauce but today, mixed with peas, she loved it.
Well, love is a strong word, but she definitely kind of liked it.
Our last two pictures are a comparison of Nora and her cousin, Kalen. I took a shot of Nora today and immediately thought of him. Do you see the similarity, or is it just me?

Shane has just informed me that the only ways in which they look alike is the tilt of their heads and the fact that they're both babies. Okay, maybe I'm not quite right on here. At least you get to see some cute pictures of the kids.
Stay tuned for the Thursday post in which we'll talk all about the exciting two-hour adventure we went on this afternoon. See you then!