Today I went for a little ride in the rural part of Rhode Island and this is what I found–maple sugar buckets. The first time I ever saw one of these buckets hanging on a tree, I flipped out. Not being from around here originally, I guess I always thought that “maple syruping” was a quaint vestige of New England’s history.
But it’s not, obviously. Most people think of Vermont when they think of maple syrup, and it’s true that Vermont has very high quality syrup. But there are a few sugarhouses in Rhode Island (and other parts of New England), such as Charlie’s Sugarhouse in Coventry. (That’s the sugarhouse on the right. If you look closely, you can see smoke coming out of the top where Charlie has sap “on the boil.” There are big automated sugarhouses as well (though not in Rhode Island), so that old-fashioned sugarhouses like Charlie’s are are doing their part to conserve a valuable New England tradition. It’s another kind of sustainable farming, if you ask me.
Sap starts running when the days are warm but the nights are still cold. So whenever you see sap buckets on maple trees, spring isn’t far. Maple trees wouldn’t lie!
We had a beautiful sunny day yesterday and are in the middle of another one today. We took the glass panes out of the storm doors and traded them for screens. And I’m starting to see a few bulbs poking through the the ground. Now if only the forsythia would bloom!