Monday, March 16, 2009

The Sap's Running

Spring came in over night it seems. In Minnesota, Spring means that it's maple syrup time. The trees are running. It may have gotten too warm too fast for them to run their best. They like freezing nights and moderate days. I took the following sugar bush pictures 5 years ago...give or take a week or so.

My grandpa used to cook syrup with my dad. Then maybe 8 years or so ago my dad started cooking syrup with his neighbor. It is a lot of work, but a lot of fun too...a lot of that fun was due to my dad. To say that he was a character doesn't begin to describe him, but that's all I can come up with right now. People were drawn to him, enjoyed spending time with him as much as they enjoyed tapping the trees....included his cousin Roy. Roy has come down from Canada each Spring to help with the fun. My dad could make Roy laugh deep down from his belly.

Roy arrived yesterday to help the neighbor, Mark, with the making of the syrup. This picture is of Roy and my dad heading out of the woods 5 years ago.

This will be the first year that my dad won't be cooking syrup. I think that it will be a tough Spring for the guys at the Sugar Shack without him. It was tough for me just hearing that Roy was in town and that the trees were running. There was talk of giving it up this year...but I think that they decided to do it in honor of my dad and all the good times they had there with him. It was such a big part of Spring for my dad....and I really, really miss him, today especially. Funny how some days are OK and some aren't....but on we go....we have to. Here he and Brian are picking out a good tree to tap.

He drilled the hole and had Brian drive in the tap....

...tap, tap, did good kid....just needs to be in a little further. Always encouraging.

After the buckets fill they need to be emptied. This is how you do it Billy.... you try. The ever patient teacher. He always took time to include the kids and let them try. His mom, my grandma was the same way. What a wonderful trait to pass on.

From tapping the trees, to dumping the sap, to letting the boys take the 4-wheeler to check the buckets... Dad always welcomed the extra hands, big or small, to help with making the syrup. Here he is with Eric, and the neighbor Mark, enjoying the sweet steam as the sap cooks down.

I took a lot of pictures that day at the sugar bush, I think that they would have liked to have had more help with the trees instead....but I am so glad that I have the pictures that I do. Especially today....because today I need to remember wonderful days like this...

...because I'm missing my dad....

...and it was all brought on by thinking about sap. You just never know which memories will end up being the important ones. Cherish the simple things in life, they matter. On that note, I think I'll go have a pancake with some real syrup. Make it a good day.

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