March may bring you the beginning of spring, a tease of warmer weather and if you're lucky a trip outta the "land of 10,000 loonies...I mean...lakes." For me it brings another round of birthdays (8 if I am counting right--and what are people doin in July? OK, I KNOW what they were DOING, but why July??) and The Big Guy's idea of spring fun (at least for the first coupla days) Making Maple Syrup!
We all know that The Big Guy is FULL of ideas AND we all know who gets left to carry them out (at least I think you can figure that out). So...the Wild Ones are coaxed to Gramma and Grampa's to tap the trees, the buckets are hung and we all sit back to watch the thermometer rise and fall. And we wait and we wait some more. Finally the buckets are full and we trudge through the snow (at Grandmother's house!) to fill our pails and carry the precious sap home.
I think I must let you in on a little secret--have you ever wondered why real maple syrup (did you even know that what you usually buy in the store is NOT EVEN maple syrup) is soooo expensive? Well I have learned--and even shed a few tears when buckets have overflowed or spilled in the back of my car. We have to collect and boil 20 gallons of sap to make 1/2 gallon of liguid gold...I mean maple syrup and that's in a good year.
So this year we are ready for tapping, collecting and boiling--but someone cannot remember where he left the pails and pots. Oh heck, what's another $20 bucks, after all we are making gold. We also discover a pot in the back yard left by a partygoer (who brought it full of ice) so we are set.
The Wild Ones are gone for the night and we are alone at home boiling sap!! Yippee! Well it's not often that we are home alone and well we get a little distracted and then we get a little distracted again and then we fall asleep (mind you it is now 1:30 am). Thanks to my inability to sleep for more than 3 hours, I get up at 4:30 and get about three steps from the bed when I see this HUGE BLACK BLURR and hear this loud mumbled %@%#4. Before I even realize what is happening (I must have been dreaming or still asleep) the Big Guy is coming back through the bedroom door saying things that Hardcore Rockers would be embarrassed to say. The only legible and repeatable thing I heard was "I burned the whole f*%#@ing pot". Ohhh...all I could think of were the hours I had spent hauling and boiling--but what I found the courage to say was "hey, it's just syrup--we'll start again tomorrow" (yeah I know--how cool was I?)
So we went back to sleep--well we laid there for a while any way--and when I went into the kitchen later I was slapped in the face by a frigid wind. In his moment of hissy fit, the Big Guy had left the sliding door WIDE open--since 4:30. The cold should have put me in shock, but when I looked out on the patio what I saw was too crazy. The Big Guy had not burned the syrup--he had literally burned the whole f*%#@ pot--our liquid gold was laying in a shimmering pool around a pile of melted aluminum!!
If you ever get invited to our house for pancakes sit back, relax and enjoy the maple syrup--it only cost $64 a pint. Nothin's too good for our friends.
Thanks to the Big Guy's mom and dad for starting, teaching and encouraging this project so many years ago!! I wish I had a picture of the littlest Wild One with his mouth open wide under the tap catching all the dripping sap--all the while laughing at himself for how cleaver he is and how sweet it tastes.