Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sugaring, this year.

You can almost sense it.
The rush of water is all around.

Across the drive, the creek has overrun its banks--surging through the broad, low fields, large ice masses bobbing in frothy brown.
Most of last week’s snow has melted leaving the tired, green ground soft beneath it.
And on the pond, 2 inches of cold, clear water stands in puddles on the dark, soft surface of the ice.

The last two summers have been hard on the trees.
Heat and drought have stressed them badly, our Sugar Maples barely holding leaves through a parched fall.
But, autumn rains restore, and through winter days they have rested, hopefully with us, still.

"Tapping the Trees"
Drilling holes, slightly downward
Hammering in Tap (spout)

The feel of this quiet, warm day is right.
Sun shining brightly against the trunks,
carefully, the first hole is drilled.
A clear drop eagerly rushes forth, then another and another.
Until they fall in a stream, cool and clean.

And, with each drop safely collected and stored, this year, once again, we will make syrup--
the golden gift of spring.

The first drips of sap into bucket

More of this process to follow!

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jozien said...

Thanks for spring and that.
I will collect some birch sap again. Not till the end of May here. As i am not Originally from Canada and don't live in Maple country. It's good to see your pictures. Last year i searched for pictures like that.
Here they are, Thanks!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

There's nothing more precious than to see those first drips into the bucket.
It will be a WHILE, but we'll collect, boil and eventually end up with syrup.
The process is one that I hope others will enjoy seeing.
It's something that's becoming rare.

Mary said...

I'm fascinated by this. I've never seen it done. Please, more!

Kelly said...

My aunt and uncle have a little weekend cabin in Ripley (Brown County) where they also tap their maples. They built a little sugar shack and look forward to the process of making syrup every year. It will be fun to watch as you show us how to make syrup! Thanks!

Heather said...

Very cool, Nina. I'm looking forward to more reports on the sugaring process. There's a patch of woods on our way to work that becomes a sugaring factory come spring. I haven't noticed any activity there yet, but I expect there will be some soon. How do you know when to start? Does a stint of warm weather like what we're having now get the process going?

Kallen305 said...

I am fascinated by the whole process as I have never seen it done before. I can't wait to read part two to see how it goes.

jeannette stgermain said...

That's going to be interesting for me personally, since I'm a city slicker - thanks for sharing!

Also, I read your blog of May (07) about the humming bird - a fascinating bird - they sometimes come to your yard - never been able to catch them with my camera :)

KaHolly said...

Ah, yes! It's almost time here in Central Maine, too!

Wanda said...

I look forward to seeing the process of maple sugaring by you Nina. Library books have sparked an interest in it for us, but we have never attempted to do it. Maybe now we can watch and learn!

bobbie said...

Beautiful pictures. It must be a thrill each year.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have only read about this process before. It will be intersting to see how you go about it.

NCmountainwoman said...

We had the good fortune to make maple syrup at our nature center in WI. What fun. I'm looking forward to more.

giggles said...

OK... so how many trees will you have to tap to get how much finished gold? I admire your energy and industriousness!!

We buy and use Vermont syrup exclusively at our table. (If there is PA maple syrup to be had, I don't know where to find it!) There is very little better tasting in the whole world than fresh maple syrup...truly....

Have fun!

Deborah Godin said...

I'm really looking forward to this on your blog. It's not something I've ever participated in, but it's such a wonderful spring ritual just to even imagine!

mon@rch said...

I can taste my maple sausage already!

Sparverius said...

I did a little maple syruping while doing an internship in Wisconsin. I loved it, and the syrup was wonderful. I look forward to watching your progress.