|We put syrup in canning jars for ourselves,|
but we put it in cute little jugs for gifts to relatives.
Last year, the sap didn't start to run until early March. This year, it started in mid-February, only about a week after the biggest blizzard in decades. The sap runs when the temperatures start to go above freezing during the day, while still dipping below freezing overnight. Sap season has lasted about twice as long as last year, and we have quite a bit more syrup -- ten and a half quarts last year, and more than four gallons this year. The sap is barely dripping today, and based on the forecast, I think our maple syrup days are gone until 2012.
It's a bittersweet good-bye though. Of course, I would love to get more maple syrup, but at the same time, it will be nice to have full use of the kitchen again. And I won't miss that sheet in the doorway. The seasonality of maple sugaring is what makes it tolerable. I wouldn't want to do this every day, but for a few weeks every spring, a bit of inconvenience seems a small price to pay for the most delicious sweetener on the homestead.