Maple Syrple

March is "Sugaring time" in Northern Vermont. I'm no expert on the art of Maple Sugaring (however I don't let that stop me from making comments like "bet the sap is really running today" on a warm spring day), but I do enjoy watching the scurried busy bodies running through the woods gathering sap and loading and unloading sap tanks.

Once collected (either by bucket, or by sap line and gathering tank), maple sap ends up in the sugar house to be boiled down into syrup.

Most folks who make syrup welcome the occasional visitor, and I was fortunate to walk into the sugar shack down the road and take some pictures (and get a fresh, warm sample of just boiled syrup - mmmmmmm, good!).

It turns out the that the grandson of the people who run this particular shack is the goalie on my sons hockey team (which I help coach... not that I know a lot about hockey mind you [well, a little more then I know about maple sugaring, but that's not saying much]), and he came by and gave me a fresh half-gallon of syrup the day after taking these pictures.

Approching the sugar shack. You can see the steam rising from the boiled off sap and the wood used to fire the stove. Holland VT - 3/28/2003

Once inside, the smell of boiling sap and the crackle of the wood fired stove take over. Holland VT - 3/28/2003

Looking down over the boiling sap. The huge hood collects the steam and sends it out the top of the shack. Holland VT - 3/28/2003

Hot Spot. Standing in front of the doors of the wood fired stove. Holland VT - 3/28/2003

Bubbling sap, almost ready for draining. The pot seen above is used to scoop up boiling sap and pour it into another container that has a thermometer - I forgot the magic temperature, but once hit the syrup is ready. Holland VT - 3/28/2003

Yes, the air inside is sticky and sweet! Also, the spigot is shown here in the middle of the picture. Holland VT - 3/28/2003

The tour was over, time to head home. C-ya next year, Sugar Shack! Holland VT - 3/28/2003

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