Sierra was always one for planning life experiences and packing it in. When she was a child, she wanted to know what adventure I had planned for the day. When I told her, she pointed out, “That’s the afternoon adventure, what about the morning adventure?” At thirty-one years old, nothing much has changed. She was planning an epic early spring weekend home, along with her husband, Eben, brother Bryce and Calan. The plan was to sled on the remaining snow, catch the snow geese migration at Middlecreek Wildlife Management Area, assist the full moon in its rising, gather sap from our maple trees, boil it down to make syrup, visit our goats and our newly rescued pot belly pig, fire up the sauna, enjoy a campfire dinner and then indulge in homemade waffles for breakfast drenched with our freshly made syrup, before heading back to Virginia.
Not everything in the natural world cooperated, however. Because the farm fields are smothered in snow with no exposed winter wheat for food, the geese have remained in the Chesapeake area. Instead of the 125,000 numbers she had hoped for, only 25 are there. The remaining snow was also crazy wet and melting fast with 50-degree temps, so sledding sounded miserable.
Sierra and Eben brought the ingredients for a memorable dinner, as it was the last day of the Chinese New Year celebration. We all helped make handmade dumplings and sushi, while listening to music from Taiwan.
The sap was running so we managed to collect 7 gallons in all, which we boiled down to a pint once the sun set. The sauna felt delicious and after rolling around naked in the cold snow, while screaming from shock and delight, we showered and sat on the benches by the gorgeous light of the full moon. Afterwards, we played Dictionary and when we brought the maple syrup in for the night, a rare chorus of yipping coyotes rang through the snowy woods, celebrating the full moon with us.
A morning breakfast of waffles made on an antique cast iron waffle-maker, maple syrup which coursed through the cells of our maple trees just hours before, blueberry syrup made from our blueberries, and thick crusty bacon made from the pig we raised, nourished our kiddos before sending them back to Virginia. May they always remind their parents to continue to plan, plan, plan life experiences and pack as much fun into life as we can, before this grand trip is over.
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