SoCS: sap

I have lived in the Northeast United States for my whole life and soon my thoughts will turn to sap.

Maple trees are plentiful here and are often used for maple syrup production. The sap flows in the spring and is tapped, usually now with lines rather than with spigots and covered buckets as it was done traditionally.

At least, it used to be done in spring when I was a child. What you need for a good flow of sap is days above freezing and nights below freezing. This used to be early spring weather, but now, with climate change and increased volatility of weather, those conditions sometimes happen as early as February.

February is not spring.

Some years, the sap starts to flow in February, but then it gets colder again and stops. If we are lucky, it stops before the trees actually start to bud as the cold weather can then damage the buds and affect the tree for the year.

When I was a child, we used to go to a local sugarhouse during sugaring off and watch as they evaporated the water out of the sap to leave maple syrup. I always liked the lighter, more delicate syrup. The sugarhouse had an attached dining room where you could order great pancakes and waffles, which were served with fresh syrup. Then, my sisters and I would order sugar-on-snow for dessert. They would bring us cake tins full of snow and a pitcher of warm maple syrup. We would drizzle it over the snow and it would instantly congeal into a candy which you could pick up with a fork. You could sometimes even twirl it around the fork like spaghetti. It was delicious, but super sweet, so they would serve it with homemade dill pickles, which were also really good.

It has been many years since I had sugar on snow, but I always keep a supply of real maple syrup at home. I refuse to eat “pancake syrup” which is usually just corn syrup with some maple flavoring thrown in.

In my area now, I usually buy maple syrup from a farmers’ market rather than directly from a sugar house. When I go back to Massachusetts or Vermont, I will sometimes buy syrup there to bring home. Right now, I have a gallon that was made in B’s hometown and about twelve miles from my hometown.

It’s all good.

I do worry, though, about the future of our sugar maples. They are stressed by climate change and the range of the trees is moving north. In the coming decades, we may need to import our maple syrup from Canada. I’m sure it would be as delicious, but probably in short supply, which would be very sad.

I’ll savor my maple syrup all the more now.
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Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and/or Just Jot It January! This week’s prompt was sap/sep/sip/sop/sup. Today’s pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/04/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-5th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

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SoCS: this and that

This post is going to bounce around a lot because it is about this and that.

Someone I know is running for the US Congress!  Kim Myers, with whom I served on committees in our school district, is going to run for a seat in the New York 22nd district. She is running for the Democratic nomination; our current Representative is retiring. He is a Republican and considered a moderate – which is what used to be considered very conservative. Kim has served on the school board in our town for 18 years. Recently she has been sitting on the Broome County legislature, where she is the only woman and the minority leader.  I’m so hoping Kim will be elected. She is well-known in our part of the district also because she is from the Stack family, who founded Dick’s Sporting Goods. Their original location in Binghamton is still open. She has been involved in philanthropy for years, too.

Unfortunately, this brings to mind presidential election stuff…  More primaries and caucuses this weekend. The Republican race has descended further into name-calling and ridicule. At least, the Democratic side talks about issues.

Last night, we got to see a livestream of T’s concert. Her choir, the Hendrick’s Chapel Choir, sang in a choral showcase with all the other Syracuse University choirs. Each group sang a couple of their own pieces and then joined together to sing two spirituals arranged by their guest conductor who had been vising for the week from Temple University. T is a graduate student, not at Syracuse, but at SUNY – Environmental Science and Forestry, which is directly adjacent to Syracuse. ESF students are eligible for courses and extracurricular activities at Syracuse U, so it has meant that T gets to sing in a great choir program, which she loves.

This has been tax prep week. I helped my parents with their taxes earlier in the week and yesterday I plowed through ours and T’s. I am very grateful for TurboTax! I’d hate to have to do them all long-hand, as I used to years ago.

It’s chilly here today, but a big warm-up is in store. By mid-week, it is supposed to get up to 60 F (15 C) which is tremendously warm for early March.

The maple sap has been running early, but there was a maple syrup related tragedy this week. The Holleran family owns a sugarbush in New Milford PA, not that far from here. There is a proposal for a new methane pipeline, the Constitution, that starts in PA, then continues into NY. New York has not yet approved it, but FERC gave permission for tree-felling to begin in PA. The Holleran’s did not want to have their trees cut down; the pipeline route is taking out 90% of their maple trees. The courts allowed the company to take the land by eminent domain, which many of us think is unconstitutional because the land is being taken for private profit rather than public use. At first, the work crews turned away because the trees were tapped and the family and other tree defenders were on the property, which is their land still, even with the court order. The company went to court and then they came back with tree crews accompanied by armed officers and cut down all the trees. The Holleran’s and others had painted American flags on the trees. It was so jarring to see these trees with flags painted on them stacked up. We are all just sick about it. If New York does not approve it, the pipeline will not go in and they will have killed all those trees and taken away part of the family’s farm income for no reason at all.

A happier part of this past week is that I sent in my paperwork and deposit for the Boiler House Poets reunion at Mass MoCA this fall. I am thrilled because one of my poet-friends here is going to come with me. We had a couple of spaces because some of our original group is unable to make the reunion. We are going to be in North Adams for the Fall Foliage Festival and for my birthday. It will be so great!

Well, I could go on writing about this and that for a lot longer, but I think I had better stop before your eyes glaze over. So, that’s that!
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This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. The prompt this week was “this and that” – a post about this and that, beginning and possibly ending with “this” or “that.” Come join the fun!  Find out how here:    http://lindaghill.com/2016/03/04/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-516/

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