March 24, 2000

Spring is Sprung..

[For background please see the previous few entries.]

Eighth day after surgery. All the tubes are finally out. Dad is still only sipping clear fluids and is very weak. A physiotherapist visited today, and a medical student did a neurological evalutaion but tentatively concluded that the weakness is due to lack of nutrition and inactivity, nothing more.

I don't know how they expect people to recover from this kind of illness and surgery without nutrients. I understand that he can't eat but there must be some sort of vitamin supplement they can put into an intravenous (which he doesn't have anymore but that's not the point..)

He's also discouraged. He doesn't want to get up and move around, which is absolutely necessary. The nurses are pretty good about pushing him. One of the best nurses is still a student, about to graduate this spring. Daddy has so much confidence in her that he fell asleep while she was removing some of the staples from his incision!

In other news.. it appears the groundhog was wrong.. we are having a beautiful early spring. Most of the snow on the ground has melted already! This usually doesn't happen until mid-to-late April. Temperatures are in the fifties (F) or teens (C). Hubby has reported that some golf courses south of Montreal are preparing to open, and he expects to start playing within a week or two if the evil snow does not befall us again.

Maple syrup season is early too, and a bumper crop is expected. The sap starts to flow when nighttime temperatures are below freezing while daytime temperatures are higher. The first nursery school and elementary school field trips of the year are invariably to the "sugar shacks" scattered in the outlying areas. The children might take a hayride into the forest to see the trees connected together with plastic tubing, all draining the sap, (hey! like Daddy in reverse!) and there might even be a few trees tapped the old fashioned way, with spigots and hanging buckets.

There's always a larger wooden house, used as a restaurant/hall, where traditional meals are served (ham, beans, pancakes, maple desserts) and parties and dances are held, and a smaller shack where the sap is boiled. Nearby is a large horse-trough thing filled with clean white snow, and ribbons of maple syrup are poured onto the snow, allowed to freeze, and rolled up on popsicle sticks to be eaten. The parents always make sure they get some of these as well.

Linque Du Jour: more about maple syrup

Clearly-written facts about the maple syrup industry by the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers' Federation;

Obviously translated-from-the-French account of the season, by "Tourisme Quebec". The French style of writing is much more flowery than the British or American English equivalent, and a literal translation appears strange, to say the least.

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