Perhaps it’s laziness, but this household’s married couple tends to use Christmas for getting we’d-buy-it-otherwise presents for each other. This past holiday was no different in that regard, but it had an odd exception: the favorite household tool (the cordless hammer drill set with a 7/16″ bit) would be put to good use in aiding both of our presents.
2012 has two brand-new projects on the edible agenda, you see. We’ll be maple sugaring and cultivating mushrooms. The drill’s duty? It gets to tap the the trees for their sap and riddle holes in hardwood logs and pine stumps for the spore-drenched plug spawn. (The mushrooms will be addressed closer to Fungi Season.)
Tom got a big box of goodies from Sugar Bush, a Michigan syruping supply house. I am keen to support Michigan companies and these folks were very helpful.
The sugaring has been an interesting prospect in this odd weather year. We actually did a few cautious taps to our trees in early February, but the ups and downs in temperature have started and stopped the flow accordingly. Ours are not sugar maples; we have silver and red and both will work for sugaring but aren’t as “easy” (read: you have to collect and boil more sap) as sugar and black maples. We use sap collection bags, not the traditional pail, because they clean up and store more readily than do metal pails…and they’re cheaper. Once we collect enough sap, I’ll show you the boiling-off process. There is fire involved, heh.
And our daughter reminded us once again of the maple-sugaring passage of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods: Laura, her sister and cousins got to drizzle their soft-boiled syrup into the snow to make sugar taffy. Maybe we too will get a sugar snow and can try that ourselves.