For a few brief hours last week, the maple sap was running. Silas and I were playing in the living room when I noticed one of our kitties intently staring out the window. When I followed her gaze, I saw one of our squirrel friends suspended upside down on the maple tree trunk. It took me a moment to realize what he was doing; licking the sap from one of the test holes that I had drilled earlier in the week. Sap!
We had been eagerly waiting for the run. We did a maple syrup week of Circle Time (reading Sugaring by Haas and Sap to Syrup by Snyder - both instant favorites) earlier in the month and a dear friend procured a spile for us from a local nature center to tap one of the old maples in our yard. Pancakes and waffles and the like make a frequent appearance on our breakfast table, so there had been ample opportunity to talk about the process of making maple syrup and our gratitude for it.
I excitedly pointed out the squirrel to Silas and then we ran outside to check the bucket. Sure enough, there was about a quart of sap and the setting sun was glinting off the drops that were quickly drip-drip-dripping to add more.
We filled up a jar and had a taste, a first for both Silas and I. Thinner that I expected, more watery. Not at all sticky and only the faintest hint of sweetness.
The bucket has been dry every day since then and with a ratio of 40 gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup, I don't think a sap boil is in our future. Especially since, as Silas so astutely pointed out, "Mama, we don't even have a sugarhouse! We need to build one!"