Monday, March 14, 2011

Sugaring season

Today I put in roughly 30 taps and hereby commenced our 2011 sugaring season. It's been cold the last couple of weeks and in past years even when I think the sap is going to run like crazy it hasn't, so I've not felt the need to jump the gun to get the operation up and running this year. Also, things with the house are quickly settling down, so there is more time to do other projects.

Getting out into the woods, drilling the tap holes, and hanging the buckets and boiling the sap is a highlight of my year. I love it. It carries with it so many sensations of spring, the shift from winter to summer, the smell of the arch and the evaporating sap, and the long hours tending the fire all join together in a ritual that I feel grateful to do each year. There is something timeless about sugaring and the way it connects being outdoors, being active, and producing a pretty special kind of sweetener.

For a few years we tapped trees up at my aunt and uncle's place, but that required a lot of driving up a steep dirt road in mud season and in the last couple of years we've just concentrated our efforts hereabouts in my parent's woods and that's worked out pretty good. I think we have somewhere around 40 taps and buckets and I'm hoping that we'll find enough trees to use them all. I'll be going around tomorrow and putting in some more.

A big bonus this year is that we never disassembled our sugaring arch last year, so other then dusting things off, we can just fire it up and start boiling. If today's run was any indication, we should be off to a good start.