I was talking to a nice (cute) young man who is doing a little logging here on the property. He was saying that he had to go to Richmond to clear a lot of blowdowns in someone’s sugarbush. I think of March as sugaring season, but some people have already made syrup, so I guess it’s all weather related. It got me thinking about when we moved here in the sixties. The farmer who lived here had a sugar-house out back, and you can still find his buckets in the woods when out walking. The old sugarhouse has collapsed, and I’m not sure if I could find it today.
A neighbor down the road has a growing maple business and keeps increasing the number of taps by thousands every year. He taps the trees on my hill across the road and recently tapped a neighbor’s 400 acres. I got a ride through the sugar woods in the fall with his sister, and she showed me where she found the remnants of an old sugarhouse and arch deep in the woods. According to the Beers Atlas of 1859, there were a few houses on that piece of land that are no longer there.
Everyone remembers when the sap buckets would appear on trees along the road and on people’s lawns. Does anyone use buckets anymore? It’s turned into a high-tech business. Sign of the times.
When we moved here, there was a retired priest that lived a mile down the road, Father Spear. He grew up in Enosburg on a farm, and when he bought 100 acres on the English Settlement Road, he tapped a few trees near the house. We were given a pony back then that we couldn’t keep in a fenced-in area, so she wandered around the neighborhood. Fortunately, there were only a few houses on the road then, so it wasn’t much of a problem, and Father Spear always enjoyed seeing Ginger show up at his house.
Except when he had buckets on his trees. Ginger knew when he hung up the buckets and would wander down the road to his house and drink the sap out of any bucket that didn’t have a lid on it, then meander back home, walking in the middle of the road. Always when the mailman was trying to get to our house. Ginger wouldn’t budge and just kept walking in the middle of the road. I found it humorous, but Wendell, the mailman, didn’t.
We had a similar experience here when the kids hung a few buckets around the house. Our goats would drink the sap out of the kids’ buckets. The kids gave up. I wish the sugarmakers well in the upcoming season and hope Mother Nature cooperates. I look forward to the neighbors having their Open House in March.