Maple Syrup

The snow is coming down so fast you’d think it was worried it had overslept and missed next Christmas. I turn off my car and look out my window at the man in the parking stall beside me. He steps gingerly around the messy puddles and dusts the metal roof of his car delicately, as if it were made of fine china. While the snow accumulates on his dark turban I wonder where he is from and if there are any fruits coming into season there. Perhaps he’s moving so slowly because he’s thinking about guavas or mangoes instead of the snow on his windshield.

“Hello,” I call out to him. Belén shoots me worried look, like she often does, wondering what I might say next.

“What do you think of all this?” I continue, trying to be friendly.

His voice is much softer than I expect it to be.

“I thought… ” he answers with a thick accent and then falters.

“… I thought it was over.”

Somehow I feel partly responsible just by being born here; like it’s my fault spring doesn’t coincide with the date indicated on the calendar. If it were socially appropriate I might even hug him. Instead I promise that May will be better, and then Belén and I dash into the store.

Not everybody is complaining about the cool weather. Steamy sugar shacks all over the country are happily producing record amounts of maple syrup due to the slow warmup this year. Last week, while visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Indiana, we tried our luck with a couple maples behind their house.

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Stan and his dad rigging up a system to collect the sap from several spigots into one pail.

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Susanna, holding the buckets until grandpa and daddy get them hooked up. We don’t want to lose any of the sweet water!

Belén

Belén

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Stan’s parents use a wood stove to heat their home so we didn’t use any extra energy to make the syrup. The sap took about 36 hours to evaporate this way.

The final product! We actually got a full pint jar; our sap to syrup ratio was about 50:1

The final product! We actually got a full pint jar; our sap to syrup ratio was about 50:1

On the last day of our stay we had enough syrup for a breakfast of French toast. I don’t think we’ve ever drizzled syrup as carefully, or as appreciatively, as we did then!

More pics of our visit to come later…

Tricia

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