When we bought our farm, the realtor pointed out the “sugar camp”. The sugar camp is a line of sugar maple trees planted many, many years ago to supply the farm with maple syrup. With this in mind about 18 years ago we packed up all the kids in the minivan, navigated the curvy, snowy, hilly West Virginia roads and went to the Maple Sugar Festival in Pickens, WV. We had so much fun watching the maple sugar farms turn that watery sap into delicious maple syrup that we bought 10 buckets, lids and spouts. We brought them home, put them in the barn and there they stayed – until today!
After weeks of snow and cold, this morning the sun came out. It was the type of late winter day the makers of maple syrup prepare for all winter. Tim had decided this was the year that the buckets would leave the barn and the sun said this was the day. We gathered our supplies for our first trial run including directions printed off the internet. We prayed we wouldn’t get buried in the snow as we drove our trusty Ridgeline truck close to the “sugar camp” and then snow shoed up to the trees.
Drill in hand Tim bore the first hole. He put in the spout. Nothing. We were not discouraged. We hung the bucket, put on the protective lid, and moved on to our second tree. Even as Tim was drilling the hole, the sap began to run. Success! We hung the bucket and lid. We drove back to the barn to get electric line to ring the trees so curious cows and horses wouldn’t dump our precious sap. By the time we returned, there was 1/4 cup of sap in the bucket! Let’s see – at 45 cups of sap boiled down to make one cup of syrup…..
Quick, start the pancakes!