Maple sap collecting season. Spring is here! We’ve had some crazy weather in the past even as the sap flows, but usually the snow is gone by the time we boil our last batch.

Adjusting as the seasons change is so much a part of our life. These days I’m getting those things done that the changes in weather allow me – like the annual checking of the fence that’s meant to keep our horses at home. We get kicked in the ass now and again with rouge storms but for the most part we can adjust. The specter of global temperature rise keeps coming to mind, though, as presenting difficulties less easily accommodated. This link first zinged past me some months ago on facebook. I went back to find it – not to shock but to help us remain clear-eyed in the face of the dramatic changes that are happening – had we the global perspective we’d need from our kitchen windows.

Climate change information, like the above graphic, influences how we build. But even more importantly, it influences how we  as communities collectively make decisions. I can get as depressed as anyone about the slow governmental pace on renewable energy and on narrowing the income gap so more of us can afford to adjust. Ultimately, though, I look for hope to how we work together – on growing and gathering food in severe weather and designing daily solutions with the resources we have around us. The hard part is letting go of the centuries of training we’ve been seduced with to think that we’re each individuals with responsibility only to those nearest to us – if even them. Fortunately we have opportunities to inspire, excite and renew way beyond our immediate circles.

Talking circles, here’s a bit of beauty. I mentioned to friends south of Morden that we were looking for a steel tractor wheel about 6 feet across to hold up the centre of our new home. They happened to have one lying in the tall grass! It’s been a bit of a schlep to get it home and into the greenhouse but with a bit of elbow grease and paint it looks great; comforting as we anticipate its use. It will be held up by four 18 foot oak posts cut from this property. Each of the 16 beams/rafters holding up the roof will sit on the flat rim. Thank-you Will and Jennifer.

And, in the middle of the four oak posts will be a circular masonry stove. I’ve spoken of this before. But what’s new is that we paid a visit to ‘our’ stone-brick mason and family friend Matthew Kroeker near Clear Lake. That’s him on the right. He took us to see a stove he’s building. We got to see the guts of it and to learn how it works. Once a fire is lit and the draft is strong, dampers are closed causing the upward movement of air to suck hot air through passages that would seem impossible if it wasn’t for the strong draw caused by hot air rising. This stove has two warm benches on each side of the fire chamber and a pizza oven above the chamber. All this hot air moving through so much mass heats up a lot of internal brickwork. The fire only needs to be maintained for an hour a day – usually in late afternoon or evening – during which time supper can be cooked. How long does the stove radiate heat? Till well into the next morning!

We’ve decided to put some pressure on ourselves to get the house closed in by snow-fall this year. We’re asking if you’d like to offer up some energy and laughter to help us reach that goal. I’ll send another message around with that as a question and an indication as to the work we want to do in which months.

Thanks as always for your attention to this romance.