If the photos above are any indicator, we'd have twice as much syrup in the pantry if we hadn't developed such a taste for hot sap at all stages of cooking.
In truth, this ritual is more of our spring celebration than the one that involves hidden eggs and bunnies. This is the one that draws us out, year after year, as the snow retreats.
I'm so glad.
And I'm happy to give up some syrup for the feeling that it creates.
Because after the long winter cozied before the fire, it awakens us at our core to go out into the chill and spend all of the day, reading aloud, sipping sap, and trading stories as the geese and cranes soar above us.
And so last week, while Pete was busy with bookkeeping and taxes for LüSa, the kids and I headed outside to cook the first of our sap.
"Bring three mugs!" Sage called from the yard, gathering kindling. I grabbed four, knowing full well that maple cooking was more enticing than taxes in Pete's book. I was right. We weren't outside for 15 minutes before he emerged to fill his cup. (In more ways than one.)
It was also the first run of the new cooker that he made, and I couldn't imagine he'd want to miss that.
It is welded of two steel drums (food-grade drums that our organic coconut oil and other organic oils are delivered in for soap-making) and two stainless steel chafing dishes from a restaurant supply store. It worked brilliantly, and we were so glad to have him join us.
There we spent the day, cooking sap, making syrup, and welcoming spring.
I'll even forget for the moment that there's snow in the forecast for tomorrow.