Thursday, May 8, 2014

Birch syrup at the library

In the last weeks, we've had leafout, but before the buds actually burst, the sap was running from the ground up through the roots and trunks of trees. Millions of gallons of sap rise in the trees around us, and the trees change color as their bark and limbs prepare for spring, the catkins come out and the pollen from willows and aspens and cottonwoods spreads. That's the sap-tappers' time of year, and when birch syrup is made.

The JTEL is working with the OneTree Alaska program to begin a regular tapping program on our property on Village Road. After a Memorandum of Agreement is drawn up, we can arrange to use OneTree's reverse osmosis machine and tapping equipment. (You may have seen Birch Pavelsky and Jan Dawe of OneTree as well as Deirdre Helfferich and Hans Mölders of the JTEL board recently, traipsing about on the property, checking buckets.)

Sixteen birch trees will be coming down this summer when we start work on the driveway (more about that coming soon), so these trees were chosen for the first season's work, but instead of using only one tap, three taps per tree were used since they will be cut down. The peculiar weather reduced the tapping time, but the total collected was 57 gallons of sap. OneTree will receive two-thirds of this in exchange for the use of their equipment, and the JTEL will receive one-third of reduced sap (some syrup, some sap at 14% sugars), which can be used as prizes for upcoming events.

More to come!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Charity Walk for JTEL

It's the 12th annual Charity Walk! On May 9, Friday, aproned walkers will be walking on behalf of 58 charities in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, including the John Trigg Ester Library!

 If you would like to sponsor the  JTEL, contact Deirdre Helfferich, president of the library's board of directors (she'll be strolling downtown for the event, with apron!).You can reach her at 479-3368 or, or by Facebook

Or, if you'd like to walk in the event yourself, you can still register in person, although there will be a late fee.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2014 Tape & Tarp Ball!

The Tape & Tarp Ball is fast approaching! This is your opportunity to show off your fashion sense and creativity using the most Alaskan of materials: duct tape, Ty-vek, tarps, visqueen, shrink wrap, and many other down-to-earth, utilitarian, recycled or otherwise dumpster-dived materials that can be found in every Alaskan's repertoire of repair and manufacture materials. Apply them to high fashion (a.ka. haute couture) and compete via People's Choice (ballot stuffing with dollars)! We have prizes from Tolovana Hot Springs, Water Wagon, Gold Hill Liquor & Gas, and more!

Tape & Tarp poster, designed by Sue Sprinkle, owner, 5th Avenue Design & Graphics, Inc. Photos by Monique Musick.