Thursday, March 29, 2012

Phyllis stops by on her World Tour plus she gives me an interview!

Phyllis made a stop in the mountains of North Central Washington on her World Tour! It was a chilly 29 degrees Fahrenheit when she arrived at our house in Washington State. But it's been a long, cold winter and once you've been in temperatures hovering in the single digits for a while, 29 degrees can seem pretty darn warm. So my youngest and I decided to not even wear coats when we took her out on a walk to see something spooky!
The Ghost Town of Molson. Okay, it's not really scary. I mean, we were almost there and look at that smile!

When we arrived the first thing my little guy had to show Phyllis was how to use the grinding wheel. It spins really fast. Luckily Phyllis didn't fall into the mud, but it was a close call!
Then he showed her the Sheriff's Office. The sign on the building says "Law & Order of the Highlands 1898-1972"! Really, 1972 wasn't that long ago!

Phyllis just had to check out the old printing press that's on display in the bank...

...and this cool thing called a typewriter. Phyllis thought that it must have been much harder to be a writer back then since there was no backspace or cut and paste. I have to say that I definitely agree.

There was this fancy window where the bank teller stood.

We had to show her the bullet hole in the glass. Yikes! Bet that was a scary day in the wild west when that happened.
My little guy was hoping that since Phyllis is so clever, she'd be just what he needed to finally crack the safe. They were both certain that there must be some sort of treasure hiding in there, but no such luck. That thing is locked tight.

So they went outside to check out all the weird and dangerous looking farm machinery.





The ore cart in front of the Assayer's Office was pretty cool. It was even on a track.
But this sign was the best!

Phyllis was sure to sign the guest book before she left. Now everyone that visits will know that a world famous groundhog has been to Molson on her World Tour!

Here in Molson we're holding a little Ice-Off contest. All the residents have sealed up their guess of the date and time that the ice will melt off Molson Lake. The winner gets the glory of being right. The loser has to buy all the meat to barbecue at the celebratory potluck at Lefty's which is a local, very cool, um...man cave. Ha! Anyway, Phyllis thinks our guess of April 4th is a pretty good one! 

While Phyllis was here she was kind enough to answer a few questions too! So here's my interview with Punxsutawney Phyllis:

Phyllis, why do you think you’re so good at predicting the weather?

I come from a long line of weather predictors, so I guess part of it is in my genes :) But also I pay attention to things. I look and listen carefully. And I try not to jump to conclusions. Just because we usually have 6 more weeks of winter after Groundhog Day, for example, doesn't mean it's going to happen every year!

How can people be more like you and use their instincts to make weather predictions?

People are at a disadvantage. Their senses just aren't as keen as a groundhog's. They should probably just ask me :)

-Well, then you'd better be in some more books then, we're going to need you! You'd should have a chat with Susanna about that!


How did you feel when everyone in your family thought that your blizzard warning was a bad joke?
I like jokes as much as the next groundhog. As you can see from April Fool, Phyllis, I played a joke right back on them! I was just worried because the other groundhogs thought I was fooling and didn't take me seriously, so I was afraid someone might get lost in the blizzard! And honestly, Phil Junior and Pete always think they're funnier than they are. My joke was much better!


What is your favorite weather word? (Mine is cumulonimbus!)


My favorite weather word is Anemometer because it is fun to say :) (And if you don't know what that is, it measures wind speed!)


The treasure hunt had some tough hints. How did you get so good at figuring out clues?
Well, I love puzzles. And I know that Uncle Phil, who makes up the treasure hunts, likes to make them fun and not obvious. So when we reached the first treasure chest and found the April Fool clue, I figured it out pretty quick!


I absolutely love pure maple syrup! How can sap from a tree taste so good?

I love maple syrup too! And not all sap tastes good, in case you're wondering. Maple sap tastes good even before you turn it into syrup - it has a sweet flavor and smell, but it's much more watery before it's cooked down. Oak sap (which there isn't much of) tastes terrible no matter what and it doesn't smell good either! There's an Algonquian Legend that maple syrup was discovered when Woksis, a chief, pulled his tomahawk out of a tree where he had left it the night before. The weather that day warmed while he was out hunting. The sap flowed and landed in a vessel that just happened to be underneath. When his wife went to fetch water for dinner, she saw the vessel full of clear sap. She tasted it and found it sweet. Thinking it would save her a trip to the river, and not wanting to waste anything, she used the sap to cook her venison. When the chief came home, he smelled the delicious maple aroma, and tasted the sweet gravy, and that is how maple syrup was discovered. The Algonquians called it "Sinzibuckwud" meaning sweet water.


Wow, you sure know a lot about sap. So,  can you tell us why there is a sap line strung from maple tree to maple tree?

Back in the old days, sap was collected by buckets hung on spigots on maple trees. The buckets were heavy and sloshed easily, and it was a lot of hard work to collect the sap. Someone figured out you could run a sap line (like a tiny hose) from tree to tree and collect all the sap at once into one place. Much easier! And a good thing for us that it was there so we could find out way back to the sugar house!


You can learn more about Phyllis in her books:



Many thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill for letting Phyllis stop by!

17 comments:

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Well, Heather, I'm sorry you had such a struggle with blogger loading the pictures, but it was TOTALLY worth it! This post is so awesome! I love the ghost town, and the sheriff's building, and all the old equipment, and that sign!!! (And your youngest is very cute and such a good sport to play along with the fun!) Thank you so much for having Phyllis come to Washington! I know she loved her first visit to a ghost town! :)

Tina Cho said...

Love the ghost town photos! And I like the creative interview with Phyllis! Great job!

Heather said...

The interview with Phyllis is a great idea! I didn't know the Algonquian Legend about how maple syrup was discovered, thank you! I love old farm machinery, there are so many cool machines out there. Excellent post, Heather!

Dana Carey said...

Very cool, Heather. I love visiting Ghost towns. And your son is a cutie. Looks like you guys had a great time. AND that interview! Fun stuff.

Penny Klostermann said...

What a great post, Heather. I loved hearing about...and seeing the ghost town. The interview with Phyllis was clever and entertaining. I loved that part telling how maple syrup was discovered.

Heather Ayris Burnell said...

Susanna, I don't think the trouble was blogger--it was me! But now I have relearned how to post photos and it is so fun! We had a great time taking Phyllis out and loved doing it. Thanks to you and Phyllis for the great interview. I learned a lot about maple syrup. So interesting! I will probably think of Phyllis every time I have pancakes now.

Kirsten Larson said...

That Ghost Town looks like so much fun for groundhogs and little boys. Thanks for letting us have a peak at your visit.

Jennifer Lee Young said...

What a neat ghost town Heather. Loved the interview with Phyllis with all that great info.

Eric VanRaepenbusch said...

The ghost town looks like a great time! Seeing the photos makes me want to play sheriff and bank robbers with my kids! I am so glad Phyllis had a great trip to Washington!

Bonnie McCarthy said...

Love the ghost town! You're right about that spooky looking machinery! And 1972?? Really, maybe I am getting old...

clarbojahn said...

Love all the photos of your little guy and the ghost town. Also was entertained by your interview of Phyllis. I must learn how to spell her name right because I always forget to put two lls in her name. :)

Heather Ayris Burnell said...

Thanks guys! It's so fun to share some photos. Eric, I do think that me and the boys just may be playing some sheriff and bank robbers once the weather gets a little warmer.

And yes Bonnie, 1972! I just think that sign has to be wrong. Ha! It still is pretty wild west around here though, so who knows. I'll have to ask one of the old-timers about it.

Clarbojahn, I think I just may have learned how to spell Punxsutawney! <-I didn't even look when I spelled it!

Julie Hedlund said...

That Phyllis! She must be very worn out after all of her escapades. But I was glad to hear her sounding so chipper in her interview! :-)

Beth Stilborn said...

Great post and interview! I'm learning so much following Phyllis's Tour. Really enjoyed the ghost town!

But 1972? The last half of 1972, I was in 11th grade. oh my. I hadn't realized I lived in the days of the Wild West. ;-)

patientdreamer said...

Loved your tour of the old building and the old typewriter looked very much like what I learnt on in school....lol. Loved the interview as much as I love maple syrup. Have learnt so much on this trip.

This Kid Reviews Books said...

This was AWESOME!! I am so jealous Phyllis got to see a ghost town! The pictures were cool! Nice interview too :)

Heather Ayris Burnell said...

Thanks for the nice comments everyone. I hear that Phyllis is still out and about on her tour. That little groundhog never gets tired!