|Maple Sugaring our first year.|
Until one day you do.
Walking out of our house I spied an older man lumbering up the long driveway to our next door neighbor's. I waved. Said hi, and kept moving towards our car. He called and asked if he could ask me a question. I thought, you just did, but smiled and said sure...
I had my youngest with me. Unlocking the car, I ushered her towards the door. Feeling very momma bearish.
"Do you know the person that taps the trees and makes maple syrup?"
My teeth nearly fell out. "Do I, yes it's me!"
"Well," said the man, later I found out his name is Oscar, and he lives in the next neighborhood. "I've been watching you tap your trees and I told my wife I was going to try it. So I went to the Natick Organic Farm and they told me how to do it and now I have 10 gallons of sap."
"Well," I exclaimed, "You must boil it! And make syrup; probably close to a quart."
"Yes, I will," he replied.
As Oscar and I chatted, I remembered our first season when I reverently carried my first cup of over cooked maple syrup to Mr. Chick's house. "SEE WHAT I DID!" The year before, Mr. Chick had taught the town Ecology Club (we were members) how to sugar. Needless to say, I was totally over the moon with awe. As I type this post I can still picture Mr. Chick's shocked face. This wide-eyed stranger showing up at his door carrying a cup mason jar of crystallizing syrup. His comment: Fantastic, but you might try cooking it less and filtering. Advice I took to heart with every batch since then.
Over the years, I have returned to Mr. Chick's house or called to check on his season. He is always friendly; a true maple sugarmaker. He has even given me excess sap that he couldn't handle.
But back to Oscar and I.
"How's the flow?" I asked. He said the season is just about over. Very little sap flowing these days. He seemed a bit sad. I know how he feels. The end of the season is always very sad.
Oscar, hope to see you next year!