It is April 1st here and everywhere. We’ve had one of the coldest, snowiest winters since we have lived on this farm. Yesterday it snowed, yet again. Everyone around here, including the chickens, sheep, dogs, and cats, are waiting for spring to come and the snow to melt. Waiting and wondering if it will ever arrive. We know it will someday. The spring birds are returning and I am sure they are perplexed by the frequent appearance of more and more snow.
One of the most noticeable rites of spring in these parts is the appearance of galvanized buckets hanging on little hooks from the sides of maple trees. Each spring, farmers drill fresh holes in their maples, hang their buckets, and wait for the sap to flow. Talk around here is about “how the sap is running.” Depending on which farmer you talk to, you will get all kinds of conflicting stories. These buckets are incredibly beautiful weathered by years of wear and tear.
We have been enjoying the sites, sounds, smells, and flavors of our neighbors collecting and boiling this sugaring season. Sunday we walked our road to check on the progress of the harvest.
If you were here, this is what you would see:
Just beginning to drip....
The saps drips and pings as it hits the bottom of the bucket.
Lot of the maple sap is now being collected via a pipeline system that gravity feeds into large 250 gallon collection tanks. It’s not nearly as picturesque as the bucket system but as with everything, efficiency counts. In the old days, large families would spend their days collecting and boiling but as the population left the farms and families aren’t as large anymore, pipeline collection systems are easier. Thank goodness our neighbors still hang some buckets.
The sap flows best during the day when the night before was below freezing and the day is well above freezing. The past few years, the sap season was late February and early March but this year it’s much later. From what we hear, it seems like it is going to be an extra long season with lots of syrup being produced. Here's some sap boiling at our neighbor's sugarhouse.
Oh how I love living in New England.