Sunday, March 20, 2011

The sweet smell of spring and Vermont's 5th season

Aaaahhhh, spring. Pussy willows, maple syrup and MUD! Here in Vermont mud season is known as our 5th season. It's the price we pay to live in the boondocks.

A messy spot just above the old farm near the night pasture gate

A closer look at the ruts that can swallow a small car
However, mud season means the sweet smell of maple syrup is not far behind. On this particular day a 1 mile trip on bike to my brother's sugar house was well worth the effort.

A springtime bike ride to the sugar house but first a stop to see the pussy willows
Hello old friends...springtime pussy willows just beginning to bud
These trees have been producing pussy willows on this same spot since we were children. We walked the 2 miles to our town's elementary school in the 1960's and would stop to pick pussy willows on the way to school and back home again in the afternoon. After a pause to take some photos it's on to the sugar house.

Sap buckets hang from the maple trees
Inside the sugar house

Entry point of the sap where it first begins to boil

The sap boils up where it enters the tank

The sugar man stays busy while the sap boils

At times you can barely see through the room

It's a full time job to maintain the fire that boils the sap
A vintage Vermont maple syrup tin can sits on a window sill

The dipper lets you know when it's just about ready

The draw off lets you know when it has turned to syrup

The finished product...sweet liquid gold
If ever you have the opportunity to visit a sugar house in season it's quite an experience and very educational for your homeschooler. There is nothing like watching this sweet product being made and seeing where it originates from. To learn more about Vermont maple syrup visit this website.

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