Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Video Valentine to Our Friends in Vermont

By Bob Ferris (with a little help from Carlene)

Carlene getting ready to drill some trees.
When Carlene and I lived in Vermont one of our favorite times of year was sugaring season.  We tapped trees and watched the sap flow until we filled the big pot and started to boil the watery elixir.

Tapping the trees and hanging buckets.

We worked for days boiling and then boiling some more.  The 40:1 mantra became our watchwords and challenge.  And we never lost a batch to burning after the first one.  Is it aproning yet ? Now? Now?  What about now?

Pretty much done.

We ran to hunt for wood for the fires coming back to the pot as one to a child left alone and untended too long.  And then adding more sap as the water was boiled off in the crisp air.

It was a celebration of sorts not only for the syrup it produced, but of what the thawing and freezing weather portended—not the muddy season but the one that comes after.  That 50 second spring that flashes into a three minute summer.

We still have our buckets and taps as well as the big blackened pot that I have never quite been able to clean.  And I am sure somewhere in our chests of flannel-lined pants and long underwear that we have some clothes still smelling of sugaring wood smoke.

We post this in remembrance of those happy days of harvest and toil as well as the sweet products of success—all long gone.  And we post this too in hopefulness that our thoughts of the thaw and our collective good wishes will bring our Vermont friends warmth in heart if not in weather.

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