Visions of Spring

Well today was a day that really made us feel like spring is truly on its way. The return of the morning bird songs from robins, red-wing blackbirds, even the movements of the geese tell us that spring coming along. But there are other clues as well. Living in the country, I’ve noticed my neighbors running the lines back and forth. And the lines would be running from tree to tree. That’s right, the time has come for sap to run; maple syrup season has arrived.

The weather has been perfect recently, with warm days and cold nights, the sap runs. By boring holes into the tree, usually sugar maples, sap is collected by buckets or hoses where it eventually makes its way to the sugar shack. Once there, the sap is boiled down, water evaporated, leaving thick sugary sweetness in its wake. A tree can produce around ten gallons per day, on a good day, which is important considering only a quarter of a gallon of syrup is made from five to thirteen gallons of sap.

Collecting sap was first attempted by the Native Americans and was later adopted by us. Now we have gone beyond boiling sap in pots over fires. We use a series of evaporators developed to boil down the sap into syrup. The syrup of the early season is usually lighter and sweeter, tasting less like maple and is called light amber. Generally the syrup gets darker as time goes on and tastes stronger of maple. The darker the syrup, the less pure it is considered and it’s downgraded to grade b. What’s funny is that most sellers prefer the darker syrup. However, dark or light,the syrup is always sweet and perfect way to remind yourself that spring is here.

Our guest Blogger is Rebekah Schimp.  She  is a dedicated and enthusiastic environmentalist and naturalist with a quick wit and a strong work ethic.  She is volunteering with the nature center this spring before she heads off to great adventures out west to track and band migratory song birds.  With a strong scientific and creative background she adds an interesting and knowledgeable views on any project.