Kwolz's Adventures in Saving the World

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Posted by kevinwolz on March 31, 2010

Peace vs. War

Yes, that awesome flower is in MY dorm room! My Peace Lily started sending up three flowers right before break, and now the first is open! One of the less mature flowers is visible behind. Check out the tanks back there too…kind of ironic. (Can anyone name that scene??) My Peace Lily is a great addition to my dorm room: happy plants make happy people! Duh! Not to mention, it’s also supposed to be a superb air purifier. I’m pretty sure that the lilies flowering at the start of spring like this is just a coincidence: they are not native and are therefore are not in sync with our seasons…they are native to the understory of tropical rainforests and more or less reproduce whenever they see fit (the exact triggering mechanism is still a mystery to me, but I may have done it through my random watering pattern). To really see how exciting plants are, check out this timelapse I made last semester that demonstrates turgor pressure fluctuations in plant cells (i.e. what happens when you don’t water your plant).

hours of boiling...

Anyway, I realized that I never revealed how the maple syrup production went! Well, I got about three or so gallons of sap total throughout the week. It was really interesting to see the huge fluctuation in daily and even hourly sap flow…one day I didn’t get a single drop, and the next made over a gallon! The key to getting the sap to flow like this is cold nights (below freezing) and warmer days. The temperatures of each day last week then certainly explain the varied production accurately, which is reassuring.

What happened to my two gallons!?

So after more or less experimenting with the first batch earlier in the week and ending up with super thick syrup, I tried again after getting about a gallon of sap on Friday. Boiling the sap down takes forever. The idea is to boil off most of the water, thereby concentrating the sugars and flavors into what we call maple syrup. After several hours of this, my finished product was a bit on the runny side…and only 100 mL in volume! (I know I just switched units here, but seriously, metric is where it’s at.) Despite the absurdly small quantity, the syrup was very tasty, and I enjoyed a great breakfast of pumpkin pancakes and fresh maple syrup the next morning! So I guess one meal was the extent of my tree-tapping experience for this year; I can’t really do it at school, and the season is about over anyway (not many more really cold nights to get the sap moving). I’m satisfied, though. At least I tried it out, got the experience, and crossed it off my list. :.]

Eatin' good! Just a taste of what the summer will be like...

Another thing I also learned last week was how to dress (not sure if this is the proper term) horses for pulling something. All those harnesses and straps are actually quite the engineering feat! I don’t think I’ve ever been in such close proximity to horses for such an extended time…okay, like 10 minutes, but still, these things were HUGE…even the “baby” two-year-old! They are three Percherons: two older females which are an extremely well-trained team, and one young female that is currently being taught how to behave and work. Majestic yet intimidating.


3 Responses to “Peace”

  1. Joan said

    I bet the pancakes were delicious
    with REAL maple syrup, not the cheap stuff you buy in the store.

    Your Peace Lily looks beautiful. Why do you have a poster of TANKS in your room? Doesn’t seem like something you would have, or is it your roommates poster? GB

  2. Alex said

    The picture is from the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square where one man tried to block a line of Chinese tanks from entering the Square to help suppress the protests. So not quite Peace vs. War lol.

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