From the Maple Orchard to the Yorkshire Dales

Our bucket orchard produced enough sap for us to make 40 gallons of maple syrup this spring. The boiling is finished for the season and clean-up begins. The hope is to have all the equipment washed and put away before heading to England next week.

This will be my fourth Standardization weekend with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. As an examiner for the DSWA craftsman certification scheme, I join 24 other examiners every three years to assess our examining skills. We will observe and mark the progress of eight test takers in the field. Over the course of one day I will assign sixty marks. They will be tabulated with those of the other examiner’s and on the following day we’ll sit down together and have a look at how similar, or dissimilar, our marking was.

Examiners with the highest or lowest marks on any given section of the testing must explain how they came up with the grade they assigned. The goal for me will be to have every mark I give a test candidate fall in the middle of the range of marks given by all the examiners.

While the Standardization can be a bit stressful and nerve wracking at times, I look forward to reuniting with a great group of professional wallers.