Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pancakes for a lifetime

Tomorrow the high is forecast at 31 degrees. Saturday, 41 degrees. And by Monday we'll be in the 50's. Unless mother nature is cruel (which she can be), this might be the last of the deep snow for the season. And maybe the last of the sub-zero temperatures. Winter might be finally losing its grip over the land. I'm hesitant to even say the 'S' word, for fear of drawing the attention of the weather gods. But I'm thinking it.

And I'm thinking that on Sunday afternoon, in the midst of the thawing ice and snow, I will be walking around the park dragging a sled carrying a hand drill, a bunch of spiles and some metal buckets. I've never tapped trees before, and I've never actually watched it being done, but you can learn a lot from the internet and by talking to a few knowledgeable folks. I'll be tapping boxelder trees, otherwise known as ash-leaf maples.

This first syruping season will be a test drive. I've got all the supplies I need, and have even built the outdoor boiling stove (see below). I'm still not sure if it should be two or three blocks high. We'll see what works on the first boiling day. The grill surface (aka old livestock panel - thanks Liz!) is leaning up against the garage. All that's left to do is haul a bunch of firewood and start collecting sap.

My cousin tells me the sweetest sound of early spring is the ping-ping-ping she hears when the first sap starts dripping into the empty metal buckets. I'm looking forward to the experience. If things go really well, we might end up with a gallon or two of pure maple syrup. But I'll be happy with a lot less.

Give a woman a cup of syrup and she eats pancakes for a day; teach a woman to tap trees and boil her own syrup, and she eats pancakes for a lifetime.


Karen said...

I hate to mention it, but isn't March our snowiest month? And you guys out west do seem to get more than us "townies" out east!! Good luck with the maple syrup! I just read the Laura Ingell's series and can totally relate to you wanting to do more off of the land!! Can we borrow your movies???

Jo said...

Do you mean the butchering movies I spoke about a few weeks ago?? Haha...

Yes, I have boxes of little house tapes in the attic. I think I have almost every episode. Feel free to lug them home with you at Eastertime.

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

I was just planning on taping my Norway maples this evening. Guess it is the season. Never done it before so it is a bit of an experiment in progress. I have heard that birch syrup is also quite good.

Well good luck.

Jo said...

Good luck to you too! Experiments are good. Let me know how it goes.