Those of your who have been following my MooseBoots adventure for a while know that I tap my maple trees each year. Actually, I tap my trees and a few of the neighbors's trees on either side of me. Recently, I have had the feeling that it is time to tap. The temperatures have been right, but it is way too early according to the calendar. The season traditionally runs in late February, March and April. Last year, I tapped around February 21. The year before, I tapped February 14th. As much as conventional wisdom and the calendar disagree, I went ahead and tapped. I started with one on Friday. My suspicions were confirmed ... the tap started to drip immediately. So, I tapped the other 14 trees today. Not all produced today, but I am sure that this is early in the season.
I love sugaring, but I am unsettled because of how early it is. Having only sugared for a few years, I do not have a lot of experience upon which to base the beginning and end of the season. I just sort of feel it out. This year, we haven't really had much of a Winter. In fact, there have been very few cold days with average temperatures. We have not burned a lot of wood. I guess that with my developing awareness comes an intuitive sense of right and wrong. This feels wrong.
Of course, the flip side is that I must use this awareness to prepare in whatever way is necessary. So, if it is time to tap, I tap to store the food for the coming year. I am anxious to get into the woods and see if there are other signs of an early Spring. Every year, I hope to increase our foraging and this year is no exception. I am more eager this year to expand my herbal beer brewing. To do so, I must pay attention to the signs and the changing weather.
In order to help those of you who are just beginning, or wish to expand, your own personal MooseBoots journey, I am offering my first ever give-away in celebration of my 104th post (yes, I skipped announcing my 100th). I am giving away a copy of Wendy's Aunt Connie's and Uncle Arnold Krochmal's book, A Field Guide To Medicinal Plants. Arnold and Connie figured prominently as authors during the back to the land movement and published many books back in the 70's and 80's. Connie is a Master Gardener and general plant expert. It is a bit ironic that Wendy and I are now treading a similar path so many years later. This particular book is currently out of print. To enter, simply leave a comment. I will probably have to borrow Wendy's highly technical random selection machine to pick the winner on February 29th - Leap Day!