Some years springtime comes early and tapping comes late. This combination, of course, boils down to less syrup in the pantry come next season (see what I did there?). But that's just how things shook out this year. I can't get worked up about it.
Indeed, I'm grateful that we tapped at all.
We've been saying it was time for sugaring since we rolled in from our road trip at the end of February.
We thought it would still be winter for another three weeks when we returned, but we were greeted with mud instead of snow upon our arrival, and the sap already flowing. But there was unpacking to do and work to catch up on and laundry (mountains of laundry!) to wash after being away for so long.
So tapping waited.
And then the flu hit my people, one after another, and suddenly it's March, and I feel like the maple season will be over in a flash based on the warm weather forecast.
So every day I asked: "Should we tap today?" "How about tapping a few trees before lunch?" "…before dinner?" "…before bed?"
"We really should tap today if we're going to tap at all."
But the answer was always "no".
Someone in our crew would spike a fever or fall asleep on the floor by the fire. They were just too sick to drag themselves outside. I understood. But no one wanted to miss tapping, so it was indefinitely on hold instead of simply benched for the season.
Finally, as Lupine neared the end of her illness this weekend I threw down the idea that maybe we should skip tapping all together this year. We can buy syrup from our friend Mary (or countless other locals who make much of their livelihood from sugaring). We have so many good, sustainable options available aside from tapping here.
Let's just skip this year.
And just like that they were ready.
With faces still red from fever, coats and drills and boots were found, and we headed out the door. In a moment we were outside, tapping the handful of trees that we do each year.
Copious amounts of sap were sipped right from the spiles, and somehow everyone felt just a little better for having rallied and gone outside to greet the spring.
Let's home the sap magic doesn't wear off any time soon. It was such a treat to have my crew up and out the door for a couple of hours (droopy as they were).
Happy Monday to you, my friends. Whatever season greets you where you call home.
P.S. Tapping is easy! I give you a step-by-step tutorial here.