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Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

February 19th, 2012

Part of the satisfaction of sugaring is of course the flavor of the maple syrup, which has no substitute and which cannot be convincingly reproduced synthetically (“imitation maple syrup” is an oxymoron). But another part is its connection to the past, it forms a continuous link back to the first settlers, and to the Native Americans before them from whom they learned the art.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

It’s been a busy week of sugaring. In fact, after spending the last 2 days gathering sap, straining it and boiling it down I was ready to settle in with a cup of tea and good book to relax until I realized I hadn’t written this blog post. Luckily, Friday night I spent some time outside documenting why we love sugaring so much. There’s definitely a calendar image in the lot for next year!

Sugaring really is about so much more than making your own syrup. When you buy a bottle of syrup at the store you miss out the entire process, the hope you feel when you tap the trees, the joy of the first drip of sap, the healthy movement from collecting gallons and gallons of sap and walking many miles, the relaxation provided by tending the fire, and the wonder that comes when you taste your first sweet reward.

One of the things we love most about sugaring is that it gets us out of the house during that time of year when we might not otherwise. It’s wonderful to bundle up and be outside during that magic hour when the sun sets. Sugaring is probably one of my favorite activities of the entire year, each year I eagerly anticipate it’s arrival and am very sad when it’s gone. Perhaps it comes at just the right time.

What activities are you especially appreciative of at this time?

If you want to read up on maple sugaring I’d highly recommend these books:

18 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd”
  1. Stone Soup on February 19, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Your pictures are beautiful! I am in awe that you use glass jars to collect sap. You must have to empty them several times a day? I could never keep up with that here! This year we tapped about 20 trees, doubling last year. I think I will be busy! My 14 year old son spent last summer learning how to weld so that he could build his own evaporator for this year. It’s now school vacation and he has 3 days set aside to do just that! Pretty exciting stuff!

    Reply to Stone Soup's comment

    • Susy on February 19, 2012 at 8:22 am

      When we were using quart jars we did have to empty them often. Now we have half gallon jars on most of the trees, except for the slow ones. We usually only empty in the morning and late afternoon. We have a few trees that are good producers that sometimes need emptied a third time. We like using canning jars because it’s what we have in the pantry so there’s no need to buy buckets and we also try to avoid plastic coming into contact with our food as much as possible.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Andrea Duke on February 19, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Are you using a Ball canner to boil down the sap?

    Beatiful pictures. I live the one with the Ball jar!!

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

    • Andrea Duke on February 19, 2012 at 7:11 am

      Meant *love* the first picture of the up-close ball jar collecting sap.

      Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

    • Susy on February 19, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Yes it’s a big old water bath canner. I do some boiling inside as well in big enameled cast iron pots. All the syrup is finished inside on the stove.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Kathi Cook on February 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Beautiful images! You make me want to include “maples” on my list of new property requirements-which actually wouldn’t be hard since CT is loaded with them. Do you tap Sugar Maples exclusively or do you also use Norway maples? The canning jars look so pretty.Enjoy the rest of your sugaring season!

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • Susy on February 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

      Actually all of ours are red maples. It takes more sap to make a gallon of syrup, from our experience about 50. Maples are on our list of must haves for our new property too!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. tj on February 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

    …I so long to do this in my lifetime. I will have to put this one on my ever expanding Bucket List. :o)

    …I always laugh inside when I read anything regarding “settlers” because I always think to myself, “illegal immigrants”. I’m almost certain that is how the Native Americans saw it. :o\

    …That first photo? [singing the word] “Awe-some”… ;o)

    …Enjoy your day!

    …Blessings :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  5. Kaytee on February 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I have a few trees tapped right now for the first time and it’s so exciting to see the sap come out. Although, my spouts are homemade and I seem to have more sap running down the tree then into the jar. Where did you get your spouts?

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

    • Susy on February 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

      We purchased our used from e-bay a lot of 50. They’re very inexpensive.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. tj on February 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

    …I’ve since added “Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill” to my Amazon Wish List. That looks to be an excellent read but at $212.00 I dunno how soon I’ll be adding that one to my library…*heavy sigh*

    …Thank you for the reference! :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

    • Susy on February 19, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Keep an eye, it’ll go down in price. I saw it on there last week for only $20 so check back often – you’ll find it at a good price and it’s well worth it. I read it over and over again – it’s probably my favorite book of all time! Hoping to visit the gardens of North Hill this spring and maybe more often when I live up in Maine.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. KimH on February 19, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Beautiful photos.. I’ve always wanted to experience the sugaring process, and photograph it, but havent done it yet.. Perhaps someday..
    I have friends who provided us with a gallon of their syrup a few years ago.. we’re still using it, so no new syrup for us this year. ;)

    How much do you average in a year & how much of it do you use personally?

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Susy on February 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

      It really depends on the year. Here in our area of Ohio the season is usually fairly short. Last year was a long season for us, almost a month long. We got 250 gallons of sap and ended up with 5 gallons of syrup – of which we still have about a gallon and a half in the pantry. We give some away as gifts, probably about a gallon and the rest we use for cooking/eating. This year so far we probably have about a gallon and a half.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. songbirdtiff on February 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    At this time of year we start to have some really nice days mingled in with rain/snow. Today has been one of those days. We took the opportunity to clean up the yard a bit in preparation for the move. It was a little difficult to take apart the old garden space but nice to know that we are moving on to bigger and better things.

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  9. Megan on February 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Last years pictures of your maple syrup adventure is what inspired me to start! The one with the canning jar and the sap dripping in is what drew me in… I bought plumbing supplies…. It worked. This year I bought some spiles for our 5 trees. I can’t wait!

    Reply to Megan's comment

  10. Misti on February 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I am definitely jealous of this post. I love all aspects of it, especially the quote above. I’m always having a hard problem buying ‘real’ maple syrup at the store because of the price, but I don’t eat it that often so I know I should break down and do it. I don’t buy the HFCS kind, have recently bought a brown rice syrup variety.

    Love your photos as always!

    Reply to Misti's comment

  11. Doreen Frost on February 22, 2012 at 8:44 am

    What a lovely post. We are Vermont sugarmakers and you are is a WONDERFUL thing :)

    take care, doreen

    Reply to Doreen Frost's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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