Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Progress so far, March 25 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sugar season is in full cry. March is all about sugar season, here in Vermont. But, like March, sugar season is all about false starts. How easy it would be if it would just start, ramp up, run full bore, ease off and then stop. Not sure it has ever done that.

We got a good opening week. The severe cold broke, the deep snow pack promised a long season, the sugarmakers got a series of good runs, even a few overnight runs, when the night stayed mild and the sap just kept coming. Everybody boiled, 4, 5, 6 times, the roads got muddy and started to get some real ruts. Most roads in Vermont are dirt, and when the frost comes out of the ground, the roads turn to jelly and we call that mud season. It’s what we complain about after the snow and cold of winter and before the cold and wet, or unseasonable heat, of spring.

But then, wham, severe cold again. A week of nothing, sitting on your hands, apprehensive looks at the calendar as March wears on and the window for making syrup shortens and shortens. What chance April will give us that week, or two weeks, back? No – more likely spring will burst upon us and the forest will bud out according to its ancient habit and the sap will go off flavor and we’ll be faced with the anti-climax of clean-up with a lot of empty barrels that won’t be filled until next year.

But see here: two good days in a row, now – 24 degrees this morning with happy sunshine, promising a radiant day. The birds are delirious. Just a few more hours and we will be climbing through the thirties. The trees are mute, but you know that the snow is rotten and porous now and that the earth is responding, showing itself on south facing banks, in circles around each tree trunk, and that the sap has to run. Jump on it, don’t miss a drop.

It’s like being happily married to a drunk. We are all co-dependents in this relationship with the sugar maple. When you make your living from the land you develop a healthy fatalism, if there is such a thing, so when the sap is running everybody is happy, and all is forgiven.

- Lisa Chase

Note:  The picture above is from the CE Maple sugarhouse, and represents how much syrup has been made thus far (about 33 gal for each small bottle.)  For comparison, see this blog post from March 30 of last year.  That season ended fairly well; fingers crossed about this year.


I didn't realize Vermont was a sugar state .. all your syrups sound delicious

Denise Dixon — Jan 14, 2016