Sunday, 20 March 2011

Happy Spring!

First day of spring - glorious day here - brilliant sun - started off cold, but warming up. temps plus one

A maple syrup day. Perfect for the sap to run in the trees. It needs to be cold enough at night to freeze, then warm enough in the day for the sap to run. Friends just down the road had what's called here a 'sugar bush' - which means a stand of maples they tap for syrup. Then they hold a 'cabane a sucre' - a sugar shack...where they boil the sap down to the syrup and also make 'tire'. That's the special syrup that is warmed up, dribbled on snow, and it turns into toffee. Nothing like standing outside in the snow, rolling tire (pronounced teer) off the snow with a stick. And eating it. Grains of what's known as 'sugar snow' mixed in with the toffee.

often there's a party - with fiddlers, and scrambled eggs and beans and bacon...with syrup poured over everything.

I think this must be a bit like clam bakes in other areas. A real community event.

As you can see, I took a photo of our very special Quebec mud. on Trudy's ball. At least, we all hope it's mud. Except Trudy, who has a taste for the other.

Also took a shot out at the pond. this is significant because today is the first day Michael and I were able to take Trudy around the pond. Had to wear high boots, because every now and them we'd step on snow we thought was solid, and sink in to our knees. Quite a job yanking the foot out without losing the boot. of course, the boot became filled with that granular snow/ice mix.

But that's how we know it's spring.

The other clue is that we come back hoarse after screaming at Trudy to get off the pond. She doesn't see the difference between the frozen pond and the field. But of course, the pond is also busy melting. And if she broke through...

So we scream. And cajole. And bribe. Which is probably the reason she goes out in the first place. Knowing we'll offer cookies to come back. I'd offer the stuff that isn't mud, if it would get her off the fragile ice.

Right now it's probably OK - but at some stage we stop taking her around, just until the ice has gone out completely.

Did you see the Super Moon last night???

We didn't.


Oh well.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments about Aline. Wonderful to read. I wrote her and told her about them, and she wrote back to say how terribly moved she was.

Wrote this morning, as always. Actually, unwrote a lot. In reading over the past chapter I knew one scene was wrong. I tried not to admit it, but finally had to. So I undid it all, and started again. Now it feels right. So much of writing, at least for me, is slapping something down - then editing and shaping and undoing. But I need to have something one the page to work from. About half, I'd say, I get about right the first time....and about half is wrong. And then the trick is to go for walks, or stare into space, or make another cafe au lait, and see it. See what the characters should be doing. And saying.

It's actually fun, when it isn't terrifying.

they're a bit like Trudy, perhaps. Wandering out onto a pond, where they shouldn't be. And me screaming at them to come back. to solid ground.

happily, as yet, I haven't had to offer Gamache or any of them 'the thing that isn't mud' as an inducement. I suspect cafe au lait would work better for them.


Valerie said...

Oh I remember sugaring off as a child! I especially liked the maple sugar ham and the sweet scrambled eggs. And then going out to the bushes and pouring the syrup on the snow, rolling it into taffy. And riding back to Montreal with a sore stomach :)

suzanne O'Brien said...

Finished Bury Your Dead last night. I am already missing each person. Especially Henri. I had a great big Golden laying next to me and I am going out today to buy a chuck it! Mud season is upon us also. Love spring and the muddy paws it brings with it.

darlene said...

I love your posts. It sounds today as though you're knitting all those threads into the beautiful fabric that will be your next "yarn". Can't wait.

Jodi said...

Well, my parents (about an hour north of NYC), just called to say it's snowing!

Rain here in the Big Apple.

The mental image of you shouting at your characters to get back to solid ground is very funny.

Barbara said...

In northeast PA we have snow this morning which is kicking our spring fever in the butt. Bah humbug! Supposed to melt but more snow later in the week. Yuck. Funny, as snow melted last week I found part of a ball left here by our friend's dog while our friend was building our stone wall last fall. It looked worse than Trudy's but I'm pretty sure it was just muddy!?!

Lisa May said...

I remember sugaring off from when I lived in Massachusetts, and it always reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
If you need to bribe M. Gamache, may I suggest a licorice pipe?