March 31

March 31, 2010

WEATHER: Low in the 30’s, high today 46, overcast, breezy.

SAP STATUS: The sap keeps running day and night, tapering off during the night. Today it ran less than yesterday, a predictable result of no freezing nights. The sap is very weak, like most end-of-season sap.

BOILING STATUS: Day 18. The syrup is a bit darker than yesterday’s, no surprise.

THE FAT LADY has been warming up for a few days; we expect to hear her  break into her aria tomorrow. She is not the only fat one – the maple buds are fat and swollen. And the rhubarb is coming up, the red-winged blackbirds are back, and the woodsy section of the driveway is past mud season. Old-timers speak of the frog run, when the last sap run coincides with the sound of the first peepers. I only recall a few frog runs in the thirty years we’ve been sugaring here, occurring in mid to late April.

DINNER IN THE SUGARHOUSE, post script: At the same time we’re hidden away from the whole world, we are firmly at the center of the whole world – the sugarhouse during a night boil.

THE CREW:  The neighborhood boys who ran up after school day after day to fill their Dixie cups with hot syrup and then tear around our place – climbing on the woodpile, making forts up near the cupola, pushing each other on the barrel dollie  – are now in their twenties: strong, alert and keen on sugaring. This year we have two main guys who live across the way. We’ll call them at 9:30 am and say we need help starting at 2:30 pm, or we may not know until 2:30 pm that we need help at 6 pm. It’s impossible to plan ahead. When they get here, we can’t even tell them when the work day will end – it could be 8 pm or 2 am.

Many other younger Nebraska Valley kids, girls and boys, help out part-time serving sugar-on-snow, stacking wood, scrubbing, cleaning tubing, canning syrup, making maple cream and sugar and working in the woods.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Yuhhhhh,” spoken musically and with finality.


One Response to “March 31”

  1. susan bull riley Says:

    more FABulous writing! I just love reading this.

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