It’s that time of year again – we all have lots of good intentions but within a couple of months we slide back into old habits. I am as guilty as the next person. I’ve always been someone that loves lists – long term, seasonal, weekly, daily. Sometimes they worked mostly they made me frustrated.

As I think about the changes I want to make this year, I am also reflecting on what my goals were last year and how I did on those. Running – yeah not so much this year, which is frustrating so I am setting up new running goals this year. My big ambition is to do a 10 miler – my realistic goal is to do a 10k. That is achievable – 2 years ago after I committed to the Dandelion Run in May.     I spent the money on the entry fee and didn’t want to waste my money, therefore I made a habit of running after I finished work and before I came home. I have a love/hate feel for running – hate it while I’m on the 1st and 3rd mile ( they always seem to be the worst). Love it when I’m done and the next several days after because I still feel good. I learned that if I did it before coming home or as soon as I got home it happened.  If I came home, checked my email, made a few posts or basically became distracted by the million and one things that always need my attention IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.  I let this happen this whole last year.  I can see the why now I just need to fix it.  We’ll see how my training goes next summer if I make the 10 mile run in the fall.

Of course being me and always trying to put a lot on my plate I can’t just be happy with one thing soooo…….even though I walk a lot a lot at work but it doesn’t count as exercise so I also am “resolving” to add more then just running – I want to try Yoga for the first time, I would like to actually go kayaking more then once this year and I want to go on at least 3 hikes (other then working in my own sugarwoods).

This last year I didn’t have any goals for exercise and I wanted to concentrate on growing my website – this is where I cut myself some slack – I didn’t run much at all this last year and only 1 kayak trip and 2 days of hiking, but I definitely learned a lot about my website, marketing and creating products. Now this year I would like to find a little more balance. A few of my business resolutions include increasing Facebook and Instagram viewers – adding more video to show more of what we do! and bring 3 new products to my market. I have the ideas and recipes I want to use now I just need to finish the ideas with the right packaging and labeling.
The resolutions that I want to make but I know I won’t be as picture perfect as they are in my mind – the vegetable garden without weeds, the box beds moved and overflowing with herbs and flowers and the porch alive with plants! I probably won’t get the porch repainted either.
So there’s my type of resolutions – personal, business and dream world. I have made inprovements over the last year and achieved at least partial success on my 2017 resolutions, now to just keep the momentum going and help it along by adding back in some needed exercise / me time!

Forest Tent Catepillars, Defoliation and Brown Foliage

The forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria Hubner) may be found throughout the United States and Canada wherever hardwoods grow. Their favored host are sugar maple and poplar ( also known as aspen) Regionwide outbreaks have occurred at intervals varying from 6 to 16 years in northern areas. I posted a video on our Facebook page that shows the significant leaf reduction that occurred in our sugarbush this spring.  The forest tent catepillar is a native insect that has attracted attention since colonial times.  What I am learning and trying to focus on is the fact that these are native insects and while in the short term (sometimes long term due to death of a tree) is that we should just leave nature alone.  Yes the catepillars do damage but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.

Forest Tent Catepillar

Forest Tent Catepillar

Catepillars came and ate the leaves.  The leaves grew back but with a smaller leaf which created a thinner tree canopy.  We have had 2 very wet years followed by a dry year.  This year the foliage looks very dull and brown – even the conifers.   That brown is caused by the excessive amount of seeds that the trees are bearing this year.  Those seeds have and will be dropping to the forest floor to regenerate.  Back to the catepillars that ate the leaves – less leaves equals more sunlight reaching through the canopy.  More light helps theses seedlings establish which long term starts a whole new generation of new trees.



We do not expect to see a reduction in maple syrup production due to forest tent catepillars. I mentioned before that they can cause the death of a tree but usually that tree already has damage of some sort and does not deal well with any added stress.  Tapping maple trees does add stress to the tree but we do not overtap (using too many taps per tree) or tap trees that are too small in diameter (a minimum of 12 inches).  We also use what is called a health spout which has a smaller entry point for the tree.






Cold Hollow to Canada

Mushrooms and fungi

I try to learn something new everyday, some days I find a topic that I can learn lots about and its in my backyard! A few weeks ago one of the local foresters called me and asked if I would like to take a hike as part of a survey for the Cold Hollow to Canada Conservation Group.  I needed motivation to start hiking/walking/running again, the weather was beautiful and it started about a mile from my house, I needed to do this!

As it turned out it wasn’t an “official” hike since they’re weren’t enough qualified trackers involved, it was just me and  a fellow landowner Greg.  Greg knows way more about the wildlife and how to track them then I do and I live here full time!  There goal is to monitor 10 species of mammals in the area and find signs of them.  Just a few of them are black bear, fishers, minks, and moose.



It was a pleasant hike that was about 3 1/2 miles long.  Greg taught me how to look for bear sign on trees – claw and tooth marks and what types of trees they prefer.  We also saw white tail deer sign (which we were not looking for because they are so abundant in the area)

White tail antler rubbing on trees

To learn more about what Cold Hollow to Canada is check out

Maple Tapioca Pudding with Raspberries

1/3 cup Maple Sugar

3 Tbsp Tapioca

2 3/4 cup milk

1 beaten egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup Maple Syrup

Pint of Raspberries

Utensils: You will need a medium sauce pan, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, fork ( to beat the egg), a stirring spoon and serving dishes.

Mix maple sugar, tapioca, milk and egg in a medium saucepan.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Cook on medium heat until it comes to a full rolling boil – make sure to stir the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t stick. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.

I pour my tapioca into individual serving dishes and cover it with plastic wrap to make it extra creamy.  ( Also so that we all end up with equal portions and can’t argue over who got more!)

Just before serving top with raspberries and maple syrup.

Theorectically you’re supposed to let it cool 20 minutes.  The flavor is more enhanced the longer you leave it.  We did have one bowl left this morning, too bad everyone else slept in……