Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Creative art...

In one of my clases, I am working with kids helping them find artistic photography. We are studying light and shadow...composition subjects. All I know about photography I have learned from my Uncle Dean and Tonya. We had a long conference call with Tonya this week. She was willing to share technique and ideas with the students. I wish she could have seen us all huddled around my cell phone, their faces beaming.

As a result here is the first artistic photograph that I have received. Her name is Caity and she is in the fifth grade. I think it is wonderful. She took it here in Northern Indiana as Winter ends.

Maple Syrup Time....

The surest sign of spring here in Northern Indiana is the running of the sap. It has actually been a poor season so for due to our extremely hard winter, but the local county park still hosted their pancake and maple syrup breakfast.

La Grange county boasts a beautiful nature preserve...a lovely building for bird watching and artistic programming (they are always strumming away on guitars, having breakfast with the birds, or celebrating Robert Burns day as well), and a natural forest. Scott Beam is the naturalist who had the vision for the park and under his direction it is an active, vital part of the rural community.

Each year they host a large pancake breakfast serving over 3,000 folks with the volunteer help from the Lions Club and other local organizations.

This year they tapped over 500 trees, but have only harvested 15 gallon of syrup. "A record poor year," quotes Jim Carr. Still it was a wonderful day. Aaron and I took the boys for breakfast, then on a wagon ride through the park pulled by draft horses. The boys were, of course, mesmerized over the woods and the horses.

The sap buckets were everywhere on the frozen earth with just bits of spring thawing here and there. After the wagon tour, we spent time in the evaporatin house to watch the process. The steam was fragrant with sweet maple syrup.

It was a wonderful event.

Aaron and I shared stories of tapping when he was a child with his brothers on the farm. That, indeed, is another story!

Remember to buy your syrup locally! Look for small stands here and there around the area and support these wonderful maple syrup artists!