Regardless, today, I planned to boil some sap into syrup. The season has been very slow in coming. It looked right, then it got cold again, then it got too warm for sap to flow, then ....
I dumped all of the buckets into the barrel this morning and was thrilled to have amassed 24 gallons of sap. I have enough to boil down into 0.5 gallons (2 liters) or so.
Of course, there were other things to do, too. Gather kids, pick up scraps from a local restaurant, get some feed for the rabbits, etc. By the time all of that was done, it was 13:00 and I still had not gathered any wood for the boil. I also realized that the fire pit was full of scrap wood, snow, and ice.
I recruited Little Fire Faery to build a fire in the pit to clear it. I spent a few hours scouring the woods for dead wood for the boil. Then, it was time to take a break and eat a late lunch. While we were just starting, we got a visit from my Mom and Niece, which is a rare treat. We sat and talked for a while, until they had to leave.
Even though there is not much to boil, it was too late to start at 17:00. Of course, the fire pit was still not clear enough. So, I spent a little while feeding more scrap wood into the pit to clear it. I reassembled the brick wind break that surrounds the pans.
So, here I sit at 18:30. We are ready for our first boil sometime this week.
In spite of the fact that the way we boil is a lot of hard work, I am so grateful for the gifts Nature gives. I cherish the time spent in gathering food and supplies to sustain my family ... the honest direct results of effort expended ... healthy food, warm fires, the serenity of knowing that I am a part of the incredible natural world that so many of us miss because we do not stop to look for it.
Now, my only concern, on this MooseBoots journey, is getting the sap boiled before it is forecast to hit near 60 F on Friday. I certainly hope that that will not be the end of the season.
Although, I am very eager to get out fishing, hunting, gathering ... foraging!