Hidden in every February is the coming spring. Right now, there are about twenty-two inches of snow outside. It’s slowly melting in the Fools Spring that we get around now. My path out to the maple trees is getting slick and icy as I trod the snow down. We begin the process of turning the maple sap into syrup, sap bucket by sap bucket.
Every day now starts with monitoring the expected highs and lows of temperature. The warmth of the day and the night’s chill tell me how we are progressing towards spring. The range of temperatures indicates the rise and fall of sap and allows me to guess more accurately about how much sap I can expect. To the newly initiated, it seems like serendipity. But it’s the annual progress of the tree towards leafing out and growth. Every year there are repeating shapes in the pattern of growth. For those of us who sugar, it all starts this way.
Mine is a cottage industry comfortable on my kitchen stove. We tap, lug buckets, and then it’s boil, boil, boil. Eventually, the sweet syrup is poured into mason jars for us to enjoy.

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