It’s a special thrill to start off from our house on our afternoon walk during sugar season. We can see the steam rising from the sugar shack across the valley. We know that our friends are hard at work. Stoking the fire with logs the size of a leg, monitoring the pumps and gauges to be sure all systems are flowing, pouring off cupfuls of brew to see if it is at the syrup stage. We get a quick “Hello” -- there is not a moment to be distracted from this demanding choreography of making sugar. One of the beauties of sugaring is that it is truly at the command of Mother Nature. She may give you a week of good temps - she may grace you with 6 weeks. No matter what the sugarer must be ready when the sap starts to flow and have the stamina to keep up with the bounty of the maple trees.
It takes 4 taps on each of 40 trees that are at least 40 years old to produce enough sap to make one gallon of syrup.
Somehow Mike and David and the gang get their work done. There are always visitors to this steamy action packed room. They might be drawn to the shack for a taste of the sap water or maybe the warm syrup straight from the boiler or just simply the pure magic of witnessing something still being maybe by hand, in your own back yard, by people you know and love. We have strayed so far from this kind of connection to our foods.