Our maple sugaring season here in Vermont tends to overlap some with Lent each year. This year it happened to coincide perfectly. We missed one run of sap in late February, our trees weren’t tapped as we had too many other things on our plate to get them in by then. But by Ash Wednesday we had the trees tapped and the sap was running up from the roots again on the sunny above 40 degree days that followed freezing nights.
You never know what a sugaring season will bring. It is all about the weather. If there are too many warm days in a row, the trees start to bud and the sap turns and isn’t good for maple syrup any longer. On the flip side you can be in a deep freeze for weeks and then only get a few good runs before things warm up for good.
Boiling sap is a labor of love, as I’ve explained many sugaring seasons here on this blog it takes at least 40 gallons of sap to get one gallon of syrup and boiling that sap off can take many many hours, not to mention the labor of collecting it! By the end of the season, even a shorter season, we have been known to leave gallons of sap unboiled, out of exhaustion.
This is our 9th sugaring season here in Vermont, and it was by far the longest we have experienced. It has spanned the full 40 days of Lent.
Lent is a penitential season, meaning it is a time to give some things up that might get in the way of your relationship with Jesus or add some things in that may add to it. Lent reminds me of the tulip bulbs that are doing all their work under the surface just waiting for the snow to break, the sun to warm up, and then burst forth in glory.
What have I planted in the earth this Lent? Well the snow this past March and some late winter fevers/colds blanketed our house and blanketed some of my Lenten practices/promises. Just because conditions weren’t ideal doesn’t mean nothing is going on under the surface.
Lent may be over and Easter on the horizon, but my Lenten bulbs have not yet pushed up from the earth… they need a little more time in the dark and that is ok, I have faith they’ll make it to the light. Hey, Easter isn’t quite here yet!
This season we made double the amount of syrup we usually do and though we are a bit tired, there is a certain joy in persisting, in not letting any of that sap go to waste. Also of course the joy to come of using and sharing our sweet syrup all year long!
If you want to get a peek into the last 40 days here, below are some pictures from our unusually long sugaring season and at the end I’ve included a little video too.
With love from Vermont,