29 taps. 49 days. 7 1/2 gallons. it’s official, our 2014 sugarin’ season has drawn to a close.
my relationship with the sweet sap of our maple trees all began on a february day 6 years ago, dear fellow farmwife cher and her family came to celebrate paul’s birthday. their gift to him, tapping a majestic maple outside our home. so began a new relationship with this tree. that year we made a single pint of our own farm’s syrup, but the foundation was laid for a rewarding winter’s project that would grow and expand as the year’s passed.
gathering maple sap and boiling it off into maple syrup is not for the faint of heart. with sap flows related to weather, the process is not only arduous, sometimes it feels like a gamble. the right moment to tap those trees varies with the year and the conditions. anticipating cold nights and warm sunny days, we drill the holes with the hopes of a good season.
collecting 40 some gallons of sap for each gallon of syrup means some slippery hill climbing, heavy load fetching, twice a day kind of fun.
and then, the boiling off. these days begin at the crack of dawn. these days are long but i have come to love those fires, those cups of coffee out of doors as the sun starts to peek over the ridge.
the hours pass, the sap turns darker and darker, we continually fuel the fire, transfer liquid on our home made rig, use the fire to cook our snacks, hoping for those sunny cold days that allow us to truly enjoy the day long fire.
we are all in it, my family, these maple trees and me. it is a glorious gift from the woodlands and now, the season passes and we look ahead fully to spring. with each delicious pancake breakfast and every smooth bowl of yogurt sweetened with this syrup and so many delicious moments in the coming months, i will hearken back to these late winter moments with my maples and be so thankful