March 19

Posted on: March 19, 2013

The sap has been running really good, a constant flow instead of a fast drip; the weather is just perfect for collecting sap.  From each of the six taps, we’ve collected almost two gallons twice a day; these are big, mature trees.  In just two days of constant boiling we have enough for a gallon of fresh syrup.  The work has been tedious and continuous, but certainly not hard.

I had just set a loaf of cheesy bread to its final rise, when John came in.

“You want to check this batch?  I’m thinking it’s getting close to being ready.”  He really has been pleased with having something to do and learning something new at the same time.  We walked back out to the barn, steam rolling out of the big doors in fragrant clouds.

I stirred the dark golden liquid with the big spoon and let it run off the edge.  “Yes, very close; you’re getting a good eye for this.  Keep it cooking while I get the jars prepped and the canner heating.  It shouldn’t take too long; I’ll let you know when that’s ready.”

A half hour later, we were ladling hot, deep gold syrup into pint jars, fixing them with a sterilized lid and ring.  Five jars were submerged into the boiling water bath, and timed for ten minutes.  I lifted them out and John set them on a folded towel to cool, and we started on the next five jars.


“Now that’s a beautiful day’s work!” I hooked my arm into his as we admired the ten pint jars of deep amber liquid, all perfectly sealed and lined up on the counter.  I rested my head comfortably against his shoulder.

“Do we need to do more?” he questioned.

“Not really, not unless you want to.  This should last us a while.  Jason is doing his own, so we don’t need to provide for theirs.”  I heard something tired in his voice.  “We could pull the taps, now.”  He just nodded.

I got the small wagon from the garden, and armed with a hammer and a near empty can of pruning seal, (another hole in my preps) we started at the furthest tree;  First removing the tent, then the bucket, emptying any sap into the five gallon pail for tomorrow’s final coffee, and putting everything in the wagon.  Next came pulling the tap out, which John did while I searched for just the right stick to plug the hole.  I jammed the stick as far as I could and broke it off; John used the hammed to drive it in.  A quick spray of sealant and we moved to the next one.  The last bucket to come down reinforced John’s desire to stop syruping:  the bucket had 2” of milky fluid in the bottom proving this tree at least, was done.  I dumped it on the ground.  It really didn’t surprise me though, the temperature had climbed back into the high 50’s.  The removal process took less than a half hour, but I still had to wash everything so it could be stored for next year.


I told John I wanted to make something special with that first small batch he had made: the one we had used to dip Emilee’s bread into.  There was about a cup left.

I melted two sticks of precious butter, plus a ½ cup of evaporated milk in a pot.  I now had only four pounds of butter left from the ten I had in the freezer back in October; a sobering thought.  Then I added the one cup of maple syrup to the pot, ½ cup of brown sugar, and two cups of graham cracker crumbs I found in the back of the cupboard, sealed in a glass jar.  I cooked that at a boil for five minutes.  Next I open one of the jars I had of canned crackers, using the club crackers.  I lined a 9×13” pan with the crackers, then poured 1/3 the cooked mixture over them; then another layer of crackers, another 1/3 of the mixture; one more layer of crackers, using all that one jar.  I took a chocolate bar I’d been hiding, and grated it into a bowl.  I made sure the final 1/3 of the mixture was hot, spread it over the top, and sprinkled the chocolate over the surface.  The heat softened the chocolate just right. Then I set the pan in the pantry to chill.

John watched, fascinated.  “What did you just make?”

I grinned, “Maple Kit Kat bars! You are going to be amazed how good they are!”

“But you used a whole jar of crackers,” he reminded me.

I looked at him and smiled.  “Yes, but, John, this is the reason I stored up what I did.  All the canning I did, all the work I went thru, has been to provide things for myself and my family:  things that might not be available when the time came to need them.”  I got serious.  “That’s what prepping is all about, Hon.  Having what you need, when you need it.  It might be tomatoes and ready-made soup; it might be aspirin and band aides; or it might be rope and crackers.  It might even be something I forgot.”

“I doubt you’ve forgotten anything,” he put his arms around me for one of those special hugs I just love.


Later that evening everyone enjoyed the sugary treat, and none of it was going to the school!

7 thoughts on “March 19

  1. Well, since Deborah was kind enough to post a pic of herself on the group site, I always had her pictured as herself. Now I can picture Bruce along side of her, LOL

  2. For forever on I will now see Sandy D and the Rock whenever I read about Deborah…Thanks, Marie! 🙂
    (this is NOT how I pictured them!)

  3. Store what you eat, eat what you store, everything comes full circle 🙂 Look at it this way, none of that sweet treat goodness will be wasted!!

  4. Everyone was suggesting actors to play you and John, I think I like “The Rock:” for his part. And Sandra Bullock is a favorite, hand’s down!

    You’re right Deborah, the time comes to savor what you’ve worked so hard for, special events that give life a little more comfort and warmth. The little things that give us our reward for a job well done, that is worth a celebration! It’s what keeps us going, in the end.

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