100% Pure, Genuine Firefly

March 26, 2007 at 5:25 pm | Posted in biscuit recipes, country living, dating, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, hat patterns, knitting, love, marriage, photography, recipes, relationships, romance, scarf patterns, yarn | 12 Comments

[Note: The auction for the Little Nana, the handmade Knitting Thistleonian critter, ends this Friday morning … in case you are interested.]

Firefly Sees a Maple Sap Bucket at Genesee Country VillageI have learned many things, over the course of the past year, about New York State in general and western New York in particular. Of course, the most important thing I learned was that is there is such an area as “western” New York. It is even referred to as the Frontier Region. New York, a frontier. Interesting thought.

Another interesting fact is that, while people tend to think of Vermont as “the maple syrup state” (I know I did), much of the maple syrup production in this country actually occurs in New York State. Quite a few of the people we know make their own maple syrup; my husband and his family have made it a number of times over the years. The time will come, most likely next year, when I myself will stay up all night helping to tend fires and stirring a pot (or something) for hours on end and help in the process of making a few gallons of maple syrup.

We have quite a few maples growing on the bank of the river down by our cottage–that is where my husband’s family has gathered and made maple syrup over the years. His nephew’s farm, about two hours south of here, is larger than ours and he has quite a stand of woods along some hilly land where many maples grow. They have been hatching a plan for the making of much maple syrup down at his place using gravity rather than what–I don’t know. It does sound like fun though.

Firefly Sees a Maple Sap Tap at Genesee Country VillageSomething else to look forward to.

This weekend we went down to the Genesee Country Village and Museum for their Maply Sugaring Festival. They took us on a tour through the woods where they gather their syrup. The woods were lovely, dark, and deep. There were gorgeous and interesting rock outcroppings everywhere, covered with deep green moss. I haven’t seen so much moss in many years, not since I was a child playing in the woods in North Carolina. We used to gather moss in the woods back then to use as carpeting in our woodland playhouses. It was magical.

It was overcast and began raining as we made our way through the woods. I enjoyed hearing the sound of raindrops tapping branches, leaves, earth, and rock in the woods. It was also very interesting to learn about the effort and beauty of making maple syrup, from start to finish.

Firefly See Quite a Lot of Moss at Genesee Country VillageI now know what a sugar shack is: a little shack by the fires with the kettles that boil down the maple sap. The sugar shack has a little bed in it, and provides a bit of shelter. Now that I know about the twenty-four hour vigil involved in boiling down the sap in the journey toward syrup, I can understand a little shack would be needed. And, I get why it is called a sugar shack.

Each time we visit the Village, they have a recipe printed on the back of our tickets. This weekend’s recipe was for Irish Soda Bread. It is very similar to a soda biscuit recipe, but without the butter in the dough. I gave the recipe a try yesterday and was very happy with it. I added raisins, and used brown sugar instead of white. It was delicious, but my husband and I both agreed I could have used twice as many raisins … and next time I will.

The next time I post a blog entry, I will have my version of the recipe ready to share with you. Get ready with some buttermilk, flour, and raisins because when you get the recipe I think you will want to try it right away. Yummy.

Firefly Makes some Delicious Irish Soda BreadI completed another post-card size painting, this time of two pears. It is titled “Two Pear on Stone Sill”, and you can see it at my painting a day blog if you like.

The scarf I am morphing my spring hat into is coming along quite lovely. Photos in my next post.

We are enjoying a beautiful thunder storm here right now. It is a dark and rainy day. I love it.

Hope you are enjoying yours!


Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. Firefly- Can you plese tell me what “yarn forward” means as opposed to “yarn over”? I am trying to knit the Butter Gift Bag and it just doesn’t seem to be turning out right.
    Thank you many times over!

  2. Hello. With “yarn forward” I mean for you to bring the yarn forward between the two needles. I just looked at the pattern, and I see the confusion. I wanted to make sure people would wrap the yarn twice around the needle, not just once. You need to have two wraps to make two stitches.

    I will revise the pattern to make it more clear.

    Thanks for your question.


  3. Irish Soda Bread -one of my favourites and I sometimes put cheese in it and serve it with soup!~ It is also good with mixed dried fruit and some spices – a very adaptable recipe, I think. I love the pears and also the sap dropping off the spigot. As children, we gathered sap in Nova Scotia and my Mom would let it boil away on the stove (don’t know why the wall paper did not come off the wall) all day while we were at school. There was so little left after this boiling, but it was sweet! My brothers and I accused her off nipping away at it all day!

  4. Firefly, I really like the two pears. They look delicious, crisp and refreshing. I enjoy coming to your blog; it gives me a peaceful little escape. You have inspired me to try knitting, and finally I was able to get a few dozen rows that look respectable. Someday I may make something useful or even fun. Thank you for sharing a bit of your life. I enjoy “I Live On A Farm.”

  5. Hello, from a close Western NY neighbor (Churchville)! I love reading your blog–you are so talented; the photography, art and writing are beautiful. I can’t wait until you start painting the barns. I love farm scenes. Anyway, thanks for the recipes. And, your puppy is adorable. My in-laws had a Weime for many years, she was a great friend, brings me happy memories to see the cute little blue-eyed gray dog.

  6. Sounds like a fun day! Love the pics of the old barrel and the tap. We have plenty of moss around here; grows on everything. I used to collect it too when I was a child, but instead made little dioramas in shoe boxes with aluminum foil for a lake, moss for ground and twigs for trees.

  7. I love the photographs, they make you wish you were there. Irish soda bread my favorite.

  8. I love your recipes. I make your biscuit at least once a week. I can not wait for your soda bread recipe.

  9. Firefly,

    This post is food for the eyes and soul. I love the photography and your description of the woods. I also spent my childhood playing in the woods of N.C. (the mountains). This time last year, we went to that area for a small vacation with the kids and the moss was one of the things I zeroed in on because it brought back such memories. As my husband and I were walking along in the woods I said, “Stop. Do you smell that?” I got down on my hand and knees right there, closed my eyes and took a big whiff of “forest floor”. “What?” said my city husband. “It smells like home” I replied.

  10. Mmmm, a drizzle of fresh Maple Syrup on raisin-y Irish Soda Bread. Yummy!

  11. I love your painting (two pears!)
    It’s so good! you are very artistic,
    that’s your photographs are also very stunning!!
    I love them (especially the second on in this article!)

  12. Good morning, Firefly!
    I’m very glad that you have peace with your decision to offer your art to those who appreciate it. You do MORE than called for in offering ,for free, other things that you create. You are a generous soul.
    I love the picture of Blu. The eyes say it all. Doesn’t it amaze you that animals all know to look at the eyes. We all do it.
    Our dog, Buddy, is confirmed “blind” now from cataracts. We rescued him from the pound at six and he is now 13. He was the first one I saw and our eyes met and it was immediate that he was the one. Now it is too sad that when he looks at us, he is not really looking, his eyes never meet ours. He looks like a black bear( he’s Border Collie/Chow mix). We’ve always had rescued dogs and I am convinced that they just know that they are now in a good place with you and they really appreciate it in their sweet,happy-dog way!
    And I agree, Blu knows it,too.

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