Here's the Scoop by Brian Sweeney

Here's the scoop: March 19, 2013

Syrup: The Final Frontier
It would have been unfair to leave readers hanging regarding our first venture into the world of maple syrup production. So, today we reach the boiling point.

But not that fast. These things take time. Lots and lots of mind-numbing time.
Anyone with sensitivity to the cold realizes it has been pretty darn chilly lately. Especially when you’re outside. Even sitting next to a fire. Being rookies in the maple-making world, a sap house is not in the plans. Yet.

Here's the Scoop: March 13, 2013

Reaching the boiling point
I’m not sure how long my Lord of the Sugar Maple Rings series will continue, but I plan on squeezing out every last drop.

You may recall that in earlier installments of my maple syrup making adventure, I began chronicling the anticipation of my family’s initial sap-to-syrup experience. The truth is, you can’t rush these things; thus the unusual multi-column format I’m employing to tell this tale.

Here's the Scoop: March 6, 2013

Stay out of the woods
The response to last week’s column about my wife and me getting set to dip our toes into the sweet realm of backyard maple sugar production was a bit overwhelming.

You could say that folks came “out of the woodwork” with suggestions and really scary stories about the perils of the pursuit of maple syrup. It’s always nice to get some free advice.
Insights, of course, are about the only thing that’s “free” when it comes to syrup production. Nearly everyone I spoke to started off the conversation with the question, “Do you have…?”

Here's the Scoop: February 27, 2013

Stepping back in time
It’s been many years since I last took an active role in producing a bit of Catskill Mountain maple syrup, but I’m getting ready to give it another crack.

My first experience with syrup production occurred when I was quite small. One neighborhood family used to tap the series of sturdy maples that lined our street. Four large trees in front of our house were part of the supply, so the local kids helped with the task.

Here's the Scoop: February 13, 2013

Winter film festival time
At some point last Friday, it started becoming clear that maybe the blizzard forecast calling for 18-24 inches of snow in the Catskill Region was just a bit “overblown.” Or is that “underblown”?
Like practically everyone else in the northeast, I took plenty of peeks at the weather forecast in the days leading to “the event.” One-and-a-half to-two-feet of snow is lot to handle. Folks living a bit to the east can vouch for that sentiment.

Here's the Scoop: February 6, 2013

Things are looking Shark®
As a general rule, I don’t put a lot of stock in items that are primarily sold via “cheesy” television ads or infomercials. You know, the type where there’s some over-caffeinated spokesperson practically yelling in glee about the greatness of the product being hawked. So good, in fact, that you can now get two of product XYZ for only $19.95.

Here's the scoop: January 30, 2013

Popular topic
There are some topics that simply aren’t spoken about in polite company. Fortunately, I’m not always polite. Plus, I’m “talking” about it in writing.

As a result, today’s topic will be mice. For the most part, mice are not desirable creatures. Sure, some folks own mice for pets. However, most of us refer to these creatures as “pests” not pets.

Here's the scoop: January 23, 2013

Hatching an anti-cabin fever plan
Even though it’s barely a month since the “official” start of winter, I think it’s OK to admit that the season has started to wear on some people’s nerves a bit. I’m a member of this group.
High temperatures this week are predicted to be only in the teens, with nighttime lows around zero. It’s not the Arctic, but this stretch of consistently low temperatures is the first real cold snap we’ve had this year.

Here's the scoop: January 16, 2013

The ears have it!
It’s not something I like to admit, but I can be a teensy bit “quick to judge.” I like to think that my instincts are usually pretty good, but sometimes I have to eat a little crow and admit a mistake.
Crow is usually tough and has a lousy aftertaste.

One such case applies to “winter hats with ears.” You’ve seen them. Heck, some readers probably own one of these items. And, I’m sure you look really cute with that cuddly creature wrapped around your head. I mean it, too.

Here's the scoop: January 9, 2013

Bubbling over
I finally made the move. Actually, the move was made on my behalf, but I’m glad it happened. I’m now the proud owner of a Sodastream.

Sure, I know what you’re thinking: Duh, what took you so long?
It’s well-known in certain circles that I love drinking seltzer. Lots and lots of seltzer. It’s a nice beverage — a bit fizzy, no calories and it tastes good. What’s not to like?

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