Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sap at night


Sap at night

Before budding begins,
the last pure stream of the maple
drops into the bucket-moon
sweet and uncluttered

Postscript note: Because of early warm temperatures, Don has been harvesting sap from eight buckets on four six maple trees since early February. Normally he would not begin tapping until late February. Sap is sweet until buds begin to form, then it becomes bitter and can't be used. We have noticed buds starting to sprout on all the trees and shrubs, and with the expectation of very warm weather this week (70°F, 20°C), he only has a few days of sap left to carry in. It takes 40 gallons of sap to boil into one gallon of sweet, buttery maple syrup. So far, he has boiled about that much, with another fourth of that to go. Depending on conditions, some days a five-gallon bucket is full in just one day's sap run.



Maureen said...

Lovely, Ruth.

ds said...

"the bucket-moon" Ahhhh...Does this mean the sap is running again?
Beautiful. Thank you.

Kathleen said...

May it all be sweet!

Rosaria Williams said...

What a beautiful poem, for the exact event in your life right now. May you have more of these sweet moments.

Babs-beetle said...

Oh, I want some of that maple syrup :)

George said...

Maple trees, sap, and a bucket-moon poem. Somewhere in this fine little verse is a hint or two of Robert Frost.

musicwithinyou said...

Lovely Ruth, yes the trees are budding and plants are popping up every where like they where never gone.

Anonymous said...

Collecting sap from maple trees sounds like something I read only in stories. Can't imagine someone doing that in real life. What joy it must be to live on your farm, something I can only taste in a poem. Thanks for sending over the sweetness, Ruth. ;)

The Broad said...

So reminds me of living in Vermont. Do you have maple sugar parties and 'sugar snow'?

hedgewitch said...

My husband's maternal family hails from Vermont, and would love this poem, if he ever read poems. But the maples and moon make their own poems, which you let them do masterfully, here. I'm sure there's more for the bucket in that factoid about the sweetness of the sap only lasting til budbreak, as well. Lovely, immediate and refreshing piece, Ruth.

The Solitary Walker said...

This is a sweet delight, Ruth!

Friko said...

Your very own maple syrup, how lovely. I had no idea that there is only a short time to harvest the sap.
It's not something we'd ever get to do.

Vagabonde said...

I am sorry to hear about your pain in your shoulder/arm/hands. I hope all the techniques you use will be helpful. It is hard when you realize that your body is not as responsive as before. I have very bad knees and cannot run and have to go down stairs one at a time, but you know after a while you don’t feel the pain – you are used to it. The piece on peace by Bill Evans is so soothing; I enjoyed listening to the clip.

Your maple syrup must be so sweet and tasty to your palate. When we were in Ohio last September we went to Louis Bromfield’s Malabar Farm. I bought some of their maple syrup and it tastes different from the maple syrup I had from Canada – I did not know maple syrup could have small variations in taste – do you find it so?

Marcie said...

What a stunning image! I have such fond childhood memories of 'sugaring-off'...where we'd pour the syrup on the snow and eat it!!!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Maureen.

ds, thank you for ahhh. Yes, the sap has been running since early February! I added a note after your comment, to clarify. This is highly unusual, and though the sap and syrup are great, the warming trend is disturbing. I hear we might have a very hot summer.

Kathleen, thank you!

Ruth said...

rosaria, thank you for reading and for your sweet wishes. We have much to be grateful for.

Babs, I'd love to share! Let me check with Don, who has made a rule that only those who help get some. ;-)

George, thanks for your poetic comment and nod to our New England poet Mr. Frost. I found "Evening In A Sugar Orchard" and can see what you mean!

Ruth said...

musicwithinyou, I am only afraid they might get snowed upon after budding or even leafing. I worry that it's hard on them.

Arti, my husband believes that if someone somewhere has done it, then he can learn to do it. Thank you for your sweet comment. ;-)

The Broad, no parties, and no sugar snow ... there's no snow. But we have had snow other years. Just this year we saw a program on TV about it, so now we know for next time the sap and snow coalesce.

Ruth said...

Hedge, yes, there is much poeticness in this whole process, and in the communal connections historically. We have a town not too far away called Vermontville, settled by immigrants from that state, and they have quite a sugar shack over there, I hear. Thanks for reading and your kindness.

Thanks, Robert, and you're sweet too! ;-)

Friko, I wonder if any European settlers took this Native American lesson back to Europe. The Native Americans called the first full moon of spring the "Sugar Moon."

Ruth said...

Vagabonde, thanks so much. I'm sorry to hear that your knees are painful. And you're right, I am adjusting to this. But happily I can add that my neck and the upper shoulder area have been pain-free for five days!

I don't know about the variance in flavor among regions, but I do know that flavor varies among types of maple trees. We have one sugar maple, and its syrup is far richer than the regular maples.

So cool, Marcie! I never heard of that until this year we saw it on TV. We'll do it next year with little James if he is nearby still, and if there is snow!

Pauline said...

So simple, so evocative and that photo! Beautiful post.

erin said...

just in indiana walking through the forest i was overcome with a desire to taste the sweet syrup boiled down on what is usually a cold spoon. we are early up here as well. it is becoming a strange world of unpredictable seasons.

(this is praise, too, song, attention, what don is doing.)


Ginnie said...

One day I do hope I can taste YOUR maple syrup! I can just imgine the joy it is to watch this process, from beginning to end!

Jeanie said...

It's amazing -- I can't believe it's maple syrup time. Of course, it really isn't -- it's just acting like it!