It is true that sugaring gets you outside for the first crop when you might otherwise still stay in hibernation for one more month of sleety, slippery, frigid weather. It is also true that the results are worth every ounce of work. And this year I discovered even more weight in this sappy, splinter inducing work: The steam heals the deep, dry cracks in my dishwashers hands, my boys can cooperate with ease (mostly), we contain the proper patience and attentiveness to actually reduce the syrup to the perfect 220 F, and I am beginning to feel comfortable weaning myself off those lovely golden orbs of cod liver oil mixed with vitamin D- because it turns out the sun still exists!
This year’s product is by far the best yet, cooked on without a doubt the most “sophisticated” evaporator to date. We were gifted this lovely converted cooker and we have up a whopping 19 taps. I placed exactly zero of these taps as my boys have become quite capable and more than willing over the last 12 months. I also witnessed so much hand sawing (five straight hours to be precise) that I had to count it as main lesson. What is more worthy of an educational experience than blisters both blood and water? We pulled out 35 gallons of sap and boiled them down to two quarts of syrup over about 13 hours. That feels like low sugar content, but it could also be our methodology, we are as green as the wood we tapped!. But we are not lacking in enjoyment. Last night it was German pancakes for supper and this morning apple pie. What is that you say? You have never drizzled maple syrup on flaky apple pie? Well then- get to work!