If you wait for mild sunny days to knock out taps and rinse lines, scrub and hose soot off the bottom of the front pan to load it into the van to drive to Leader Evaporator Inc. in Swanton, wash and hose pails, wipe down sap tanks with hot water, and so forth, you will never finish. On Tuesday and again today, Wednesday, winter returned. Slip-sliding through the woods to knock out taps and rinse lines, you’d be quickly soaked by wet snow falling from tree limbs, and besides, you can’t rinse frozen lines. We chose to work indoors. The evaporator room is notoriously cold on non-boiling days; applying elbow grease to a gunky floor warms you up quickly enough.
The final day of syrup production was nearly two weeks ago. Like flicking a switch, as always when sugar season ends, the adrenaline stops flowing; I feel the let down. Simultaneously, there is Everything-to-do-All-At-Once. Such is the state of affairs at Nebraska Knoll. All will get done somehow, sometime, by someone.
Here is a chant which came to mind over Easter weekend. It ties up for me the first half of the Judeo-Christian creation story as told in the Book of Genesis, before God created living things and humankind; how the woods felt to me (before the snow), still leaf-mold crunchy, pre-bird calls (Larry heard an owl), pre-spring flowers, pre-canopy; and how the seasons spill one after the other.
The following poem/calendar comes courtesy of neighbor and friend, Heather Hale. Each month she creates a calendar, letter-press prints a stack of them on one of her vintage presses, and gives them away on the first of the month. Here is her April offering.