Maple Sapping

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We tapped the trees last weekend. My husband went out in snowshoes with buckets, spiles, and drill to welcome early spring. The snow is still so deep, and the nights are cold, but we’ve been told that this week will be warm enough for running sap.

It’s a late season, I’m expecting the whole year to be similar: long winter, late spring, short summer, early fall, and then the deep, bitter cold of a winter again. We’re already preparing to jump into spring projects, whenever true spring comes around.
Until then, I’m reading a pile of new books – and planning to review them here, – making kombucha and beet kvass, baking bread (we eat a lot of bread during Lent), and sifting through seed packets.
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I have a mini-greenhouse, so I’ve started peppers and melons early this year. Our house gets chilly at night, which makes March seed starting difficult, but with the plant-shelf and the greenhouse, my hopes are high.

Hopefully, by the end of the day we’ll have the sap pan boiling away as well. I love maple syruping. The whole house and yard smell delicious – a Lenten challenge – and the result is magical. Jars of syrup on the shelves, tiny bottles to give away at Christmas (if it ever lasts that long), and all the joy of knowing the winter is passing away.

It’s a beautiful ritual of hope and anticipation. Our little family loves the slow progression towards warm days and not-so-cold nights. Someday spring will come again, the trees promise it, so it must be true!

St. Patrick’s feast day is fast approaching. We have his relic on our little family altar, so we try to celebrate for him in some special way. I may make Darina Allen’s Fish Pie on the feast day – with soda bread and jammy crepes.

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St. Joseph’s is right after, patron of all families:

Hail and blessed be, beloved father of God the Son, 
father of all the faithful,
greatest lover of poverty, 
most worthy spouse of the Virgin Mother.
Pray for us, beloved Protector.
Guide us as you guided the Little Family in Nazareth.

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