With slightly warmer daytime temperatures, and after lots of conversation with friends and neighbors doing the same, we tapped our maples this week. Loading the sled up with buckets, drills, taps, and hammers, we set out to get the job done. Leisurely, we did - the girls sledding beside us (on what's turned out to be the longest sled run we've ever had, thanks to this winters' perfect conditions for that). Harper led the tapping charge - choosing which sugar maple was next, and tapping that spile in at just the right angle, and in just the right direction of the sun. He knows. We were mindful of the height at which we put the spiles in, remembering that all this snow (all this snow!) will melt before we pull the taps, and we'll still want to reach those buckets. We've got forty taps in this year, just enough to hopefully warrant us a few gallons of syrup (at roughly forty gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup, it takes a bit to get there!).
Harper got himself a new hat just prior to the occasion. With leftover from his sweater, a quick Aston hat. What better accessory is there for a red plaid woodsman jacket (as he calls it) than a purple pixie hat? None, I say. He was delighted.
With lamb watch officially on (nothing yet!), and now these taps in...it sure does feel like there's some movement towards the next season. It's exciting - being pulled out of doors by these tasks as we are, and I think we're all feeling that buzz of what's around the corner. And I am reminded, once again, that tapping these trees, for us, is not just about the maple syrup. In fact, that's almost secondary really...to the hopeful feeling and excitement that the first harvest of the year gives us all.