It has been a few years since my family has really made maple syrup. Oh, we played at it by tapping one tree--just enough to show my children how it was done and give them a chance to taste the “genuine nectar" which also caused the family to divide into two camps. There are those who like real maple syrup and those who don’t. The score is two to four by the way. I will leave you guessing which is which.
With one of the children interested in making more than just a couple of pints of syrup this year, we upped the ante to eight buckets on varying trees. Not trying for that business level, but definitely willing to put more effort into it than previous years. Grandpa pitched in with a loan of spiles and sap buckets with lids. We are moving up(!) from our years of milk jugs, open buckets, and spiles made from our elderberry tree.
Usually we boil the sap most the way down over the wood stove in the basement, bringing it up stairs to cook down once it reaches the stage of careful watching. However the warm weather was working against that plan, and most of it was boiled down in our kitchen. We tried to use the wood cook stove one day, but ended with roasted people long before we ever got to the end of boiling the syrup.
The day with the biggest haul of sap started out with sparks of delight in my son's eyes, and ended with fiery darts shooting from my eyes. I fell asleep and woke up to a house full of smoke caused by the maple syrup I had charred. It was so bad I am still not sure I can save the pan. I was sooo mad at myself for ruining my son's joy, but thankfully he is like his Dad so his only comment was, "It is just syrup, Mom."
We have brought our syrup making season to a close with the total of seven pints this year. The total would of been much higher if mom hadn't of tried to make burnt offerings. The boys got to visit their second cousin's real sap operation which has fed the dreams and plans for next year. Along with visions of using Grandpa's long sap pan that was found in a shed.
There is a sadness in knowing Grandpa's sap making days have gone, but also a joy in knowing that a grandson is interested in not only hearing the stories of old but of working towards carrying on a tradition. Seeing my son hand Grandpa a pint of syrup made from this spring's sap run was truly a moment of sweetness for me.