Do you know this book?
It is a pretty picture book by Connie Brummel Crook, illustrated by Scott Cameron, that tells a story of a native child and the discovery of maple syrup. The child observes a squirrel drinking the sap of a tree and the story develops from there. It is a lovely thing to think about at this time of year, here in my corner of the world, as the season turns towards spring.
Today was the first warm day after many cold nights and my family noticed drops of sap running down the windshield of our car. (we park under a maple tree).
...out came the tools....
...in went the spiles...
...and up went the pails.
You can see that our pails are dinky ... we do not have a serious sugaring operation going on here. Did you know that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup? To make 1 cup of syrup, you'd need more than 2 gallons of sap. It really makes you appreciate the stuff, doesn't it?
We only have one big maple tree. When the pails are full, we will empty them into our crockpot and let it cook all day with the lid off. It will result in about one pancake breakfast's worth of syrup. But it is worthwhile just to underscore the connection between us and the land we live on. Eating a ripe tomato from our own garden, dyeing wool with weeds from our own backyard, or picking an apple from our own tree connects us to the earth -our own special plot of earth- in the same way.
It feels good to keep that connection alive.