Waiting for Maple Season. And Waiting.

It turns out maple sugaring is teaching me more than the art of transforming sap to syrup. It’s teaching me patience.

Vermont experienced record cold temps this week, with nighttime temps dipping below zero and daytime temps not much warmer. As we head into late March, when average temps are typically in the 40s during the daytime, averages in the 20s and 30s are what we’re seeing. The sap’s been running in fits and starts, with only a handful of solid days with the sap running strongly.

Here we are on March 20, and it’s been 4 days since I’ve emptied my sap jugs. As I cruise down my driveway every morning, and every evening when I drive back up, I slow down and peer at the jugs, hoping to see even a modest rise in the paltry sap level.

Even though I was 99% sure I’d find nothing, I went out and checked all my sap jugs tonight anyway. Of course, there was nothing.

My neighbor, Fred, tromped through our sugarbush the other day to chat about my new maple evaporator. I voiced my impatience with the cold weather and the dry sap jugs. And Fred, who’s been sugaring almost as long as I’ve been alive, said, “That’s the thing about sugaring. You can’t wait for it start, but then you can’t wait for it to be over.”

So now, I wait. The sap will run. The season may be a bit shorter this year due to the late start. But I have a feeling that come mid-April, when I’m struggling to keep up with the gushing sap and I’m out of places to store it, I’ll be wishing for some of this cold weather. So it goes.

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