I'd forgotten to put sugar on the list for last weekend's grocery run, but my conscience got to me and I decided to sacrifice the remaining sugar cubes for the cause, there being enough to make up a small batch. Accordingly, I got things started, and then sat down to have breakfast.
Coming back into the kitchen side of the house after breakfast, I wondered why it looked like a scene out of 'Fog on the Barrow-Downs'. Ah, I thought. Not fog. Smoke. Sure enough, the pan with the sugar-water I'd left simmering and forgotten about was giving forth a considerable plume of smoke, great swaths of which were hanging in the air. I got the pan off the burner and turned the burner off. Only then did the smoke detector, which yowls more often than not when we use the oven, decided to give voice.
I took the pan outside, onto the balcony, and found a place to sit it down where it cdn't do much harm. Then I went back in and started opening up windows and getting the fan going. Luckily there was a strong breeze today, and I soon had it gusting through the apartment, upstairs and down. Taking stock of things afterwards, I discovered that the cats were all calmly sitting upstairs, clearly aware something was amiss but not worried about it. When Janice came home, hours later, she reported that yes, there was still a bit of smokiness she cd smell.
As for the pot, despite some efforts at salvage I think it's a goner. The stovetop is fine. I found four little sugar-packets I'd picked up during my trip, mixed them with a little water, microwaved it, and put it in one of the feeders; the hummingbird came at once (while I was still there at the feeders, which showed how trusty/hungry it was) but didn't seem to like this makeshift-made hummingbird juice. Tough. I've now picked up a box of sugar and will make up a regular batch in the morning.
New resolution: only make hummingbird juice when I'm going to be in the kitchen throughout the whole process, start to finish.
--Despite all of which I had a pleasant and v. productive day. Go figure.