This is the time of year when people in snowy climates start losing their minds. We’ve had enough of the cold and the white stuff, yet there could be more snow well into April, even into May.

When the days are above freezing---here, they’re in the 30s and 40s---and the nights are below---in the teens and 20s---the sap starts to run in the maple trees. The month-long sugaring season gives everyone something to look forward to, just when cabin fever really starts to set in. Wood fires abound and, if you step outside on certain days, you can smell the heady mix of wood smoke and maple sugar.

Once you start boiling the sap, you must keep it going or lose sap to evaporation. It takes roughly 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, so every drop counts.

Anything as labor intensive as this requires many hands. Sugar masters make the chores as pleasant as possible. They organize potluck meals, and ask people to bring along their musical instruments, children and dogs. There’s nothing like a party to make the work flow.

Here are some photos I took a few years ago of a sugarhouse operation. Dave helped gather and stack wood. I helped chronicle the event with pictures. We both enjoyed the people, the music and the food. 

Click to enlarge any photo.