Evaporating fresh sap on our woodstove.
Homemade syrup with French toast by the woodstove. Bliss.
Vintage sap tins and one of our sap buckets near my studio.
Scenes from Shaver Hill Farm;
horses and a mural located near the modern evaporator in the barn.
The last weekend in March is Shaver Hill Farm’s annual Maple Sugar Weekend. We attended, charmed by the horse-drawn wagon rides and their museum of maple production artifacts, but the real reason is to pick up more sap buckets and candy molds. My King loves tapping our sugar maple trees, evaporating the sap (which looks like water when it comes out and tastes awful) on our woodstove, then boiling it into syrup and candies (sweet as sugar), just as the Native Americans in the region once did. Maple trees don’t suffer harm with the act. In fact, some trees have been tapped for over 100 years.
The folks at Shaver Hill Farm (310 Shaver Hill Road, Harpersfield, NY) sell their maple products worldwide. My favorite? Maple cream (it's lactose-free).
I love winter, and this is our last official winter activity. Because of the ski industry and ever-present blanket of snow, many of us don’t take all our exterior holiday decorations down. We ‘scale back’ in January to just candles in the windows, or a single fir tree in the yard, a snowflake in the window of a seasonal shop promising a Memorial Day re-opening. One by one, homes and businesses here in the Catskills will turn their holiday lights off. The towns will take the cheerful ‘Peace’ street light flags down. We’ll suffer through April: mud, melt-by-noon snow, taking saplings for firewood, and cleaning out the chicken coop. In May, at last, it will look like it snowed again—only it will be crabapples and cherry blossoms whitening the earth.
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If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend The Savvy City Farmgirl’s annual antique sale “Shop the Shed”, please do! Joy’s been featured in Fifi O’Neill’s Romantic Prairie Style and numerous publications. I called her the other night and she’s so busy she can’t even get her regular stuff listed on Etsy. It’s going to be bigger than last year, so bring a big car if you go! “Shop the Shed” specializes in French, Industrial, and Farmhouse goods.
Until next time, stay shabby!
The bravest flower of the year.