Immodesty in athletic dress is the result of an unrestricted capitalist economy.

Capitalism that is unhitched from Christian morality turns the human body into a commodity to be marketed, bought and sold.  This is one reason why our culture has rapidly pornified.  This is also why your high school daughter is running at track practice in nothing but a pair of underwear-sized compression shorts and a sports bra and no one bats an eye.

When you combine the unrestricted capitalistic commodification of the human body with women’s natural desire to be looked at by men (which is not a sinful desire when properly restricted), we can see why women’s dress in athletics has devolved from this:

Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson, the first African American female tennis champion, at the 1956 French Open, which she won.

to this:

Venus Williams French open dress

Venus Williams at her opening match at the 2014 French Open.

The immediate cry is that it is impossible to “move freely” in more substantial attire.  This is, of course, complete crap.

Exhibit A – If men can play volleyball in these shorts…

Men's VB team

…why can’t women?

US-womens-volleyball-team

The Women’s U.S. Olympic Volleyball team demonstrates why there are so many internet memes about volleyball shorts.

Of course, if you really want to destroy the They just dress like that because it’s easier to move! argument, you have to use the women’s beach volleyball team outfits versus the men’s:

womens beach vb

Perhaps they attribute their gold medal to the enhanced ease of moving their buttocks in those bikini bottoms.

 

Men's beach volleyball

Oddly, the men don’t seem to be having any trouble moving.

Why do female athletes dress like this?  They do so because they’ve been pushed to over time by the television marketing executives who broadcast the sporting events – because let’s be honest, women’s sports are kind of boring compared to men’s sports if you’re just looking at pure athleticism, hence the invention of volleyball shorts to get men interested in watching women’s sports.

I don’t think the marketing execs literally sat down one day and decreed women athletes were henceforth to dress like sluts. Saying It was the TV executives who did it! is just a shorthand way of saying that it was a progression: one female athlete dressed a little more risque, more men watched any future events she participated in, thus more advertising dollars rolled in, so the television stations covered more of that sport to cater to the advertisers, which led to more money for the athletes, whose advertising sponsors then required them to wear skimpier uniforms in order to gain more viewers…this is what I mean when I say women were pushed into dressing immodestly by marketing executives.

And though they probably didn’t come up with the idea of such skimpy attire all on their own, it likely isn’t that hard to “push” a lot of women into it, as most women have a natural desire to be looked at by men.  To understand how this natural desire is harnessed by marketing executives, consider that one of the first things the U.S. Women’s Volleyball team did when they got back from the Olympics was pose nude as a group for ESPN’s “The Body Issue” (sorry, I don’t want to post the nude image here even though technically everything “naughty” is covered).

There is no word from ESPN on when we can expect a similar photo from the Men’s Volleyball team.

It’s not that male athletes are more moral than women when it comes to how they dress.  It’s just that photos of the Detroit Lions draped nude over one another and sporting nothing but a few strategically placed footballs isn’t going to sell a whole lot of beer.

In fact, I googled “ESPN the Body Issue men” (for research purposes only, I assure you), and I found NO group nude shots of men. The men get the Women’s Volleyball team and the Women’s Water Polo team, and what do the gals get? That’s right, Prince Fielder.  Gee, thanks ESPN (I jest of course – I don’t actually want to see nude groups of male athletes).

Why, this definitely wasn’t about marketing women’s sports to men as softcore porn at all!  Ha.

But here is the much more serious fall out: Olympians and professional athletes set the standards for what younger athletes wear, and it becomes first acceptable and then required for them to dress immodestly.  If a girl wants to play on her high school volleyball team, she will be required to wear those immodest shorts because they are part of the uniform.

This gives a parent two choices: allow her to play in the immodest shorts or pull her off the team.  And since the attire for most girls’ sports is getting skimpier and skimpier, there aren’t a lot of other sport options that are much better at this point (girls’ basketball is still pretty modest).

My own rationalization has been this: I tried and tried when they were younger to bring this issue up to coaches and fellow parents only to get strange looks from them, so I gave up and gave in.  My husband and I were discussing this recently, and he talked about averting his eyes, depending on where he’s sitting at volleyball tournaments, just before the serve when all those fifteen-year-old girls crouch forward in their volleyball shorts.

I got my own taste of that recently when I went to pick up my high school daughter from track practice on an unusually warm day; not only were groups of girls running in compression shorts and sports bras (my daughter kept her shirt on, thankfully), but the young men were shirtless in running shorts. I decided it was appropriate for me to look away from the half-naked young men running past me back up to the school.

To mention this to others is to get a defensive reaction – What’s the matter with you, are you such a pervert that you find sixteen-year-old boys in nothing but running shorts too sexual to look at without feeling that it’s kind of wrong to look?  Anyone who questions the modesty of under-aged athletes in such skimpy attire is immediately shamed into silence by insinuations about their character.

But I do think it’s wrong.  I don’t think we should allow our children to be marketed this way and I don’t think we should train our daughters to attention whore for the male gaze like this.  The problem is that we are being trained to slowly accept more and more immodest athletic attire; we are first anesthetized to it by seeing it on television on professional athletes and then eventually it trickles its way down to high school and junior high athletes, where first it’s a few kids wearing it and eventually it just becomes part of the standard uniform. At what point do we as Christian parents draw a line in the sand and say, “No farther”? It’s not an easy and straightforward decision, but we should at least be aware of the underlying dynamics and understand that this is the end result of capitalism unfettered from morality.

(For an interesting discussion – some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t – on modesty and dress, start with Cane Caldo’s recent post Of Pants and Passions and continue through his series of posts on the issue, including a discussion about athletic wear).

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The word of the day is “costochondritis”

Last year one of our children started complaining about chest pain. Given her young age, we figured it was heart burn and gave her calcium antacids to chew, which didn’t help. When she started to have brief episodes where she’d grab at the left side of her chest and cry out, we took her to the pediatrician, who gave her the once over and declared her fine. “Probably a strained muscle,” the doctor said.

Lately this same child has been getting up in the night and coming into our room, crying about chest pain and saying it hurts to breathe. She seemed so anxious that we just chalked it up to her still getting used to living out in the middle of the woods and getting scared at night.  Still, I worried to my husband that we might be missing something. We decided to discuss it with her doctor at the next appointment.

But yesterday she came home from school in tears, saying her chest had hurt so badly all day at school that she could barely function. She’d gone to the office and they’d looked her over and asked her to try to deal with it for the rest of the day. I got home from work yesterday afternoon to find her sobbing on the couch in my husband’s arms because her chest and left shoulder hurt so bad and her left arm was numb. I called the pediatrician’s after-hours service, who advised me to take her to the emergency room.

We decided to skip our local, small-town hospital and drive in to Ann Arbor to take her to the Pediatric ER at the University of Michigan Hospital. We figured the U has some of the top doctors in the world, so we might as well get this problem solved now.

Have you ever had to watch your child writhe in unbearable pain?  There is no way to describe what that is like for a parent to watch helplessly as your child screams and sobs in agony. All you can do is hold them and pray, but it is the most frightening, awful feeling in the world.

After running a bunch of tests, the diagnosis was costochondritis, a word I had never even heard before:

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum) — a junction known as the costosternal joint. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

The cause is not always known but can include any of the following:

  • Injury. A blow to the chest could cause costochondritis.
  • Physical strain. Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise have been linked to costochondritis, as has severe coughing.
  • Arthritis. In some people, costochondritis has been linked to specific problems, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Joint infection. The rib joint itself can become infected by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Examples include tuberculosis, syphilis and aspergillosis.
  • Tumors. Noncancerous and cancerous tumors also can cause costochondritis. Cancer may travel to the joint from another part of the body, such as the breast, thyroid or lung.

The pediatrician at U of M also told us that he sees it when girls go through growth spurts, and our girl has been growing like a weed, in addition to running, jumping, falling off her bike, crashing on her ice skates, and who knows what other grievous playground injuries. He told us that the pain can be very intense, and in Googling around today, I’ve found that adults who suffer from it can deal with crippling pain for weeks or even months.  I truly pray that won’t be her fate, though.

As a little PSA, I thought I would alert other parents reading here that if your child complains about chest pain, you might want to ask the pediatrician if it could be costochondritis.  In most cases the only treatment is anti-inflammatory medications and applying heat to the affected area to soothe the pain. In addition to that, I am a big believer in using touch to ease pain and help with healing.  According the University of Miami School of Medicine, there is clinical evidence to support my belief that touch decreases pain:

Dr. Field explained that the benefits of touch seem to stem largely from its ability to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone manufactured by the adrenal glands. This was measured in two dozen studies. She said that touching with moderate-pressure (a firm handshake) stimulates activity in the vagus nerve, one of the 12 cranial nerves in the brain, which in turn slows the heart and decreases the production of stress hormones including cortisol.

Here is an example of the kind of research findings that support the healing power of touch:

Children with mild to moderate juvenile rheumatoid arthritis who were given massages by their parents 15 minutes per day for one month experienced less anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Over a 30-day period, parents, kids and their physicians reported less pain overall in the children.

By the time we got home at 1:00 a.m., we were exhausted, but nevertheless I warmed up a rice snake in the microwave for her to hold on her chest, and then I lay beside her on her bed, massaging her back, arms and legs.  If you don’t have a rice snake, they’re easy to make:

I also recommend having a supply of funny bear videos at the ready, as they provide a welcome distraction for an ailing child. To my knowledge no one has studied the healing power of funny animal videos, but laughter is well-known as the best medicine. 🙂

 

The destructiveness of Beyoncé-n-Taylor feminism.

Feminism is not pro family-formation.

Yes, there are feminists who are married and have children, but the ideals feminists espouse (example: career-as-identity) discourage marriage and child-bearing. For a woman who doesn’t want marriage or children, it is no problem to end up unmarried and childless, but that isn’t how most women want to end up. The existence of many blogs and news stories about women in their forties who refused to settle down in their twenties because they were too busy with their careers and casual lovers but then couldn’t find anyone decent to marry in their thirties and are now bemoaning that fact while finding out belatedly that family really is what it’s all about shows us how detrimental feminism is to family-formation.

In 1976, when modern feminism was really getting into full swing, the childless rate for women ages 40-44 was about 10%; in 2006, after thirty years of feminism, the rate had exploded to 20% (it is important to note that this does not differentiate between voluntary and involuntary childlessness).  But interestingly, over the past several years (coincidentally the same time frame when there began to be a vocal push-back by women against feminism), the childless rate has begun to drop for women in the final years of their fertility and now is just over 16%. (source: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p20-575.pdf)

I was speaking with a teenager recently and she took me to task, saying that the kinds of extreme feminism I’ve written about in the past isn’t how most feminists are nowadays. She assured me that feminism is only about believing that men and women are equal (she didn’t specify what “equal” means) and anyway didn’t I know that even Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are feminists?

I found this interesting; Lena Dunham is to my mind an excellent example of modern feminism and she is constantly embroiled in scandals such as making possibly false rape allegations (that were purposefully vague and led to a man who had nothing to do with it being attacked) and writing an anecdote that made it seem like she had molested her baby sister. Science Fiction author Vox Day refers to her as the Dunham Horror.  On top of that, she is the sort of modern-looking feminist – green-haired, crass, and tattooed – that is so unappealing to the sort of single man who might be interested in marriage and children:

She doesn’t exactly send out an “I’d make a great future mother of your children” vibe, does she?

 

And yet Lena Dunham is who Taylor Swift credits with turning her into a feminist:

“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

Feminism does not actually just mean “you believe women and men should have equal opportunities,” as anyone who has read Feministing knows (Feministing is considered the go-to source for modern young feminists). Taylor may not know much about what feminism is, but one thing she does seem to know is that she is not planning on sacrificing any of her independence by getting married:

“I’ve learnt that just because someone is cute and wants to date you, that’s not a reason to sacrifice your independence and allow everyone to say what they want about you. I’m not doing that any more […]

It’d take someone really special for me to undergo the circumstances I have to go through to experience a date. I don’t know how I would ever have another person in my world trying to have a relationship with me, or a family. The best answer I can come up with now is, ‘go at it alone.’

It’s one thing for Taylor Swift to embrace feminism; in addition to being rich, beautiful, and talented, she has said she plans to “go at it alone” and she’s obviously happy with that (or says she is, anyway). But Young Woman, do you want to “go at it alone”? Do you like the idea of being unmarried and childless for life only without the, you know, incredibly glamorous lifestyle of a pop star?  Because embracing feminism will have real life consequences for you that Taylor Swift will never have to experience.

And it’s easy for someone like Beyoncé  – who uses her sexuality to sell her records, married fairly young and has a child – to parrot feminist talking points:

“I guess I am a modern-day feminist.  I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman, and I love being a woman.  I do believe in equality and that we have a way to go, and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept.”

Beyoncé, who’s married to rapper Jay-Z, 43, has been criticized for naming her upcoming world tour “The Mrs. Carter Show.” Her husband’s real name is Shawn Carter. “I feel like Mrs. Carter is who I am, but more bold and more fearless than I’ve ever been,” she said.

The “Single Ladies” and “Independent Women” singer says becoming a wife and mother to daughter Blue Ivy has contributed to the type of woman she is, despite those song titles.

“It comes from knowing my purpose and really meeting myself once I saw my child,” she said. “I was like ‘OK, this is what you were born to do.’ The purpose of my body became completely different.”

But for both Beyoncé and Taylor, feminism looks more like a public relations strategy than any sort of true political or philosophical conviction, and their public embracing of the feminist label is incredibly destructive because they influence a lot of young women who don’t have their options in life and who are at risk of missing out on having a family if they adopt a feminist outlook.

Young women: you are not Beyoncé, you are not Taylor Swift, and you don’t need feminism in order to accomplish any of your goals.  You are most likely average-pretty and, not to rain on your parade, while you very well may be smart, talented, and kind, you probably aren’t going to end up a superstar.  It’s okay to dream, but it’s important to also have a realistic life plan in mind. By the time you are in high school, you should be starting to consider seriously what your most important goals in life are. Here are some sample goals:

  1. Love and serve God in whatever way He calls me to do while always living in obedience to the Bible.
  2. Marry
  3. Have children.
  4. Work in ____________ job field.
  5. Get post-secondary education or training.
  6. Other goal(s):________________

You should be considering what your top 5-10 goals in life are, seeking wisdom from both God and the adults in your life, and ranking them from most to least important. You may want to get a degree from Harvard and also have three children, but if you could only pick one of those two goals, which one would you pick? Which one will give you the most happiness over the span of your life? I can’t answer that question for you, but you do need to think about what you want in this one brief lifetime before you enter God’s eternity and focus on achieving the goals that are most important to you. That doesn’t mean that goals further down the list can’t also be worked toward, but it does mean you need to focus the bulk of your time and attention on preparing yourself for your most important goals, especially if family-formation is one of them.

More liberal incoherence: open carrying and men in the women’s locker room edition.

Liberal moonbats are generally incoherent in what they say are appropriate responses to any given situation.

In this first story, a woman named Yvette Cormier complained to Planet Fitness’s corporate headquarters about a man dressed as a woman who refers to himself as a “transwoman” using the women’s locker room at a Planet Fitness in Midland, Michigan. When PF’s corporate headquarters told her this was allowed, Miss Cormier waged a gossip campaign against the man dressed as a woman, complaining to other women when he was present.

In the comments on the MLive story, liberals galore criticize this woman’s response. Fine, no problem. Though I don’t agree with men dressed as women being allowed to use the women’s locker room, neither do I think Miss Cormier should have responded the way she did, by being catty and gossipy and publicly humiliating the man, something he was doing pretty well all by himself. The correct response would have been to write a letter to Planet Fitness’s corporate headquarters explaining why she was cancelling her membership. There are workout facilities that don’t have locker rooms and thus this issue doesn’t come up; Miss Cormier can take her business dollars there, which is what I would have done.

But the very next story on MLive is of a young man who open-carried his pistol to a high school music concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Mr. Wade has a Concealed Carry License, but in pistol-free zones you cannot carry concealed in Michigan; you must open carry there, so he did.

Notice the liberal moonbat response of one Mr. DiBlassio, an adult musician involved with the performance:

In between sets, DiBlassio approached the row Wade was sitting in and attempted to photograph him. Following the concert, he stood at the back of the theater and asked for everyone’s attention before pointing out that Wade had been openly carrying his pistol during the event.

“I told everyone I thought they should be aware that while they were at the concert watching their kids that there was someone with a firearm and ammunition and maybe we want to think about that,” DiBlassio said.

He went on to tell people to look into contacting school board members and state representatives if they also felt uncomfortable.

“I posed the question to them saying ‘don’t we want something like a gun-free campus’ for our schools,” DiBlassio said. “And I said I personally wasn’t comfortable with this.”

As he finished speaking, DiBlassio said told everyone in the audience where Wade had been sitting and that he was wearing a white shirt.

Talk about a campaign of harassment.  Remember, Mr. Wade was following the law to the letter. Personally I think he was purposefully making this into an issue and could have avoided the big fuss, but nevertheless he was within his legal rights, just as Planet Fitness was within theirs to cancel Miss Cormier’s membership. But notice the difference this time; not only did DiBlassio photograph Mr. Wade, he then attempted to incite a mob against him by standing up publicly at the conclusion of the concert and calling attention to Mr. Wade while delivering an anti-gun lecture, which is quite a bit more intimidating than Miss Cormier’s gym gossip. At the end of DiBlassio’s diatribe, one liberal woman even physically attacked Mr. Wade’s family:

Wade said he was able to leave the auditorium without any major incidents. However, he said his father was attacked in the lobby by a woman at the show. He said the family has video of the alleged incident and is considering pressing charges for assault and battery.

Nice.

The commentary from liberals under this story is very supportive of Mr. DiBlassio’s actions even though they were similar (though much more extreme) in nature to Miss Cormier’s; yet liberals approve of the one and excoriate the other. They all call for Miss Cormier to go elsewhere if she doesn’t like Planet Fitness’s policies of allowing men in the women’s locker room, yet they don’t call for DiBlassio to go elsewhere if he doesn’t like Mr. Wade legally carrying his weapon in a place and manner where he is permitted to do so.

There is no logical coherence to the liberal response; it’s just pure emotionalism all the way.

Don’t ignore warning signs.

 

Why do people so often ignore blatant warning signs, either metaphorical ones or real ones?

Consider, for example, the Dexter Underpass:

Image Source: Historic Bridges

“The bridge over Dexter-Pinckney Road was designed in 1890 by Frederick Blackburn Pelham, the first African American to graduate from the University of Michigan in engineering. But it might never have been built if Warner’s cow hadn’t calved on Sunday morning, March 20, 1887.

When Warner didn’t show up for church, his parents, Dennis and Martha Warner, became concerned. That afternoon they walked from their house in the village toward Charles’s farm, which he had taken over from them years before. As they began to cross the tracks, the Michigan Central’s Limited Express roared around the curve at forty-five miles per hour. Dennis Warner made it across, but his wife did not. “Mrs. Warner evidently became slightly confused, hesitated an instant, and just as she stepped from the track was struck by the pilot of the locomotive, throwing her head against the cylinder, crushing her skull and killing her instantly,” reported the Dexter Leader […]

The accident cast a “pall of gloom over the entire community,” reported the Leader. After the funeral, held at the Congregational church on Fifth Street, townsfolk began petitioning the railroad to build a bridge at the crossing. At the time the Michigan Central was making improvements all along the line, and the railroad assigned Pelham, a young civil engineer whose specialty was bridge building, to design new bridges over the road and over Mill Creek. Both elegant stone structures are still there, the latter behind the fire station at the end of Warrior Park.

[…]The Dexter underpass was the most unusual of the twenty bridges that Pelham designed in Michigan because of its skew arch, a design used when bridges are not perpendicular to crossings. Before putting in the stone arch, the workers dug under the rail bed and put in a temporary wooden frame…Stone bridges were the best available at the time for durability, strength, and easy maintenance, but only wealthier railroads could afford them.”

As you drive toward the bridge from either side, about a mile out you see a sign warning you that there is a low bridge ahead. Then, half a mile out you see another sign warning you about the low bridge ahead. Then, as you approach the bridge…well, here is the picture I took from my minivan earlier this evening:

Dexter Bridge

Image source: The Sunshine Thiry Blog, 03-06-15

 

 

That’s right, there’s a third warning sign, and the height of the bridge is prominently displayed on the underpass as well. Nevertheless, driving home from a church event last Saturday, we came upon this:

image

Image source: The Sunshine Thiry Blog, 02-28-2015

 

That’s a semi truck wedged under the bridge, with an enormous tow truck backing up to it. The fire department was out there, too; my youngest daughter wanted to know why the firemen couldn’t spray soapy water on it or spread peanut butter around it like you do when you get gum stuck in your long hair.

Lest you think this is a one-off occurrence, here are pictures of a few other recent similar events at the Dexter Underpass:

2012.  Image source: The Ann Arbor News

 

 

2014. Image source: MLive

Warning signs are there to help you avoid catastrophe, not to be a wet blanket on your super fun life.  But it’s like people just refuse to listen to warning signs on principle now.

“I’m offended you’d even suggest that I might want to take another route around that low bridge! Low bridges are a constraint on my freedom! I shall plow right through, mind over matter! I just gotta be free to be me and do what I do, and I’m a high-overpass kind of a person!”

It never ends well; man-(or woman)-versus-reality contests usually don’t.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Should grade-school aged children be allowed to walk home from the park without an adult?

I was just recently thinking about the topic of free-range parenting, comfort-addicted kids, and under-developed gross motor skills, and then today I noticed this news story:

‘Free-range’ Maryland parents hit with ‘unsubstantiated’ child neglect

The Maryland parents who believe in ‘free-range parenting’ and were investigated after police picked up their children — ages 6 and 10 — walking home alone from a park in January were reportedly found responsible for ‘unsubstantiated’ child neglect […]

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they will continue to allow their children to walk home together. The legal ramifications are unclear if the children are picked up by police again […]

In January, the Meitiv children were walking home from the park, which is about a mile from their Woodside Park neighborhood, in broad daylight and were stopped by police after someone reported seeing them.

The kids were returned to the home and police reportedly talked to the parents about the dangers of the world […]

CPS reportedly followed up and forced the parents to sign a safety plan acknowledging that they would not let the kids go unsupervised. Alexander told the paper he resisted at first, but CPS threatened that if they refused, the kids would be removed from the home.

Apparently the parents had taught them the way to walk home and the children were familiar with it. I would think six is too young to be a mile from home alone, but what about with an older sibling of ten? And it was daytime, not dark! This seems like it should have been fine. One wonders about the person who reported this to the police.

We all want to keep our children safe, no doubt about it. But children walk home from school all the time; should walking home from the park be considered any more dangerous?

Tapping my first sugar maple tree.

I finally had a chance to tap one of our sugar maple trees today; ideally this would have been done a week or two ago because, according to the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, tree tapping should be done in mid-February in lower Michigan and the first week of March in the Upper Peninsula.  According to Tap My Trees:

Sap flows when daytime temperatures rise above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit / 0 Celsius) and nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. The rising temperature creates pressure in the tree generating the sap flow. This is basically a transfer of the sap from the tree above the ground and the root system below the ground. The sap generally flows for 4 to 6 weeks, with the best sap produced early on in the sap-flowing season.

Usually we are seeing daytime temperatures above freezing by now, but this year has been record-breakingly cold, so I’m hoping March 1st isn’t too late to tap, given how cold the weather has been here.  It’s been so cold that despite leaving one bubbler on in our pond, it has nevertheless frozen all the way over:

image

My husband will have to cut through the ice in a few places so that the fish won’t suffocate.

To tap my first tree, here is what I did.

1. Get a 7/16-inch drill bit.

image

2. Measure 2.5 inches from the drill tip and mark it with a little piece of tape; you want the hole you drill in the tree to be 2-3 inches deep.image

3. Get a spile and hook (I bought mine at Family Farm and Home):

image

4.Slide the hook’s ring over the spile so that the hook faces out:

image

5. Drill a hole on the south side of your maple tree, about three feet off the ground and either over a large root or under a large branch.  Angle your drill so that the hole you drill slants slightly upwards:

image

6. Insert the stile into the hole, tapping it firmly into place with a hammer. Hang the bucket on the hook:

image

7. Slide the lid’s bar through the holes in the spile:

image

8. Empty sap bucket as needed; the sap should stay good for about a week as long as you keep it cold, after which you’ll need to boil it down into syrup:

The sap should be stored at a temperature of 38 degrees F or colder, used within 7 days of collection and boiled prior to use to eliminate any possible bacteria growth. If there is still snow on the ground, you may keep the storage containers outside, located in the shade, and packed with snow. You can also store the sap in your refrigerator, or for longer term storage, in your freezer. Remember that sap is like milk, it will spoil quickly if not kept cold.

image

 

A maple tree of this size should yield around ten gallons of sap, which can be boiled down into one quart of maple syrup.  If the sap is flowing, I’ll collect it all week and then make maple syrup next weekend.