The days are starting to noticeably lengthen. There is often still a golden glow in the sky when I leave for home at the end of the day. Buds are swelling on the end of each tree branch.
It's time to tap the maple.
Last year, after visiting a local maple syrup festival, we decided to collect our own sap and make our own syrup. It was so much fun, we had to do it again this year.
We all put on our boots, trotted across the swishy muddy mess of our front yard, and gathered around our beautiful black maple tree. The scar from last year's tap is barely visible. We carefully selected a spot the proper distance away from the previous sit. Hubster drilled the hole. Bug pounded the stile in place. Monkey hung the bucket.
The sap started flowing instantly, each drip pinging happily into the galvanized steel bucket.
This winter has been mild. There has been little snow and few days with temperatures below freezing. While I've enjoyed the substantial decrease in driveway shoveling and windshield scraping, I'll be honest. I kept worrying that the lack of cold weather would prevent us from sugaring this year. It's still too early to tell if we will get less sap this year.
But the bucket is filling.
And even if there's not much maple syrup for Sunday pancakes, there was an afternoon of tapping the tree.