Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Ramblings

Spring is here!

As the snow melts, I awaken from my blog hibernation. As the peregrinating birds return, I return from my Lenten slumber (hopefully permanently!). The time afforded on this beautiful Palm Sunday, along with some gentle encouragement by ardent readers, inspired this post.

Recently, my girlfriend Sophia moved not too far from here to work at an organic farm for the growing season. She visits the monastery every weekend, and so on the weekends we’ve gone exploring the countryside.

Yesterday, we visited the nearby Hoyer Hill Cemetery, which served as the final resting place for locals in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the temporary resting place for someone we found napping there. Some of the gravestones are so worn down that it is impossible to tell who was buried. Others were fixed by metal ties. From the cemetery there’s a gorgeous view of the surrounding countryside, including the monastery.

We then went south to Richfield Springs to get some supplies, and continued wandering. Between Richfield Springs and Jordanville, on Rt. 28, there’s a small maple sugar bush, Ingles Maple Products. We poked our heads into the gift shop just long enough to sample some delicious maple BBQ sauce. However, as we were about to leave, one of the owners came out and invited us into the sugar shack, where the maple sap gets turned into sweet, sweet syrup.

A sap line running from the woods to the sugar shack.
This equipment turns the sap into syrup!

Bill and Ruth Ingles, the owners of the sugar shack, have nobody to take over the business, but their passion for maple syrup keeps them going. They have some state of the art equipment which evaporates out much of the water from the sap, saving much of the energy required to boil the sap down into syrup. Bill poured us some samples into tiny cups; it was pretty good.

Cooperstown, seen from Three Mile Point

Finally, we spent some time down near Cooperstown, on Lake Otsego. The lake, also known as the Glimmerglass, was frozen over during the winter, but now was almost completely thawed out. The floating sheets of melting ice had a sapphire tint in the afternoon sun. Over at Three Mile Point, we had a closer look at the ice, which turned out not to be solid sheets, but agglomerations of multiform ice crystals.

On the way back, we saw some cattle grazing under the big blue sky:

I’m looking forward to more exploration in the coming weeks!