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Good morning everyone. We boiled down the first batch of sap this week, 30 gallons worth. Sawyer dutifully tended the boiler, literally an old boiler that was found living out in our back woods. There was never any reason for that boiler to be there but there it was just the same. The wood for this first firing was 3’ lengths of what were spruce rafters on the shop attached to the house. That roof has for years been leaking clear through the sheet rock and over head light fluorescent fixtures. Our contractor friend Scot gave Alex and I a hand as we stripped the old roof, replaced all 22 rafters and applied a new sheet metal roof. We still have the soffits to finish but it is “good enough” until I get back from Texas in a few weeks.

So I really wanted to tell you about the hardware store and how everybody is somebody if you take a minute to listen. Our local “big box” beater is not vanishing anytime soon from what I can see. It is the place I spend your money because I think you would vote for the little guy in the fight to keep small town America going. Linda Norton works behind the counter. She helps folks find the odd things that little hardware stores have. Like the plastic license plate screw holder that fits in the hole in your Chevy bumper… it is in the box on the back wall next to the ones that fit in the Ford bumper. I am not kidding she helped a women find one the other day. Screw sold separately. Linda also does the custom paint mixing and that, as you will see, is something she does better than most. While the rest of the world sleeps between midnight and 4 AM Linda paints with passion. What you don’t see at first glance is that she is actually a very well known marine artist specializing in sailing vessels. She has been featured in several prominent nautical magazines. She recently painted Jen and Annie in the fore crosstrees furling the topsail. Linda writes, “Two of the ladies of the Mary Day are aloft furling the topsail. Rope, ditty bags, and knives tied to their belts, they work carefully and swiftly in unison. Conversation is unheard from where I stand and I doubt needed. The female crew of the Mary Day are well known and respected for their sailing abilities.” I am pleased to see anyone get credit for hard work but these 2 women have spent the better part of their adult lives practicing their craft and deserve all the admiration that Linda gives them. And, yes, I am just a little bit proud to know them.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

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