March Means Maple Syrup
By: Patrick Milmoe
Bill and Sue Lipe own a nice gentle-men’s farm in the hills of Pompey. Sue is busy with three horses, a few chickens, a moody goat and a wonderful Pony they adopted from the Haven at Skanda. Bill is a man of the woods and when he is not working behind a desk you can find him felling a tree or building bridges over culverts for walking trails. He loves it. Since the sap is plentiful and the firewood is everywhere he enjoys marking the end of winter and the start of spring with a weekend of boiling sap.
In a typical season Bill usually ends up with two or three gallons of syrup from his hard work. The Lipes are fortunate to have hundreds of Maple trees but have no plans of going into the Maple business. Although, after a few beers, Bill was talking about the construction of a sugar shack prior to next year’s run.
Making Maple Syrup for the most part is quite easy. Build and tender a hot fire while keeping the pan full of sap. The large producers use reverse osmosis machines along with high end evaporators to speed up the process, nevertheless this setup is a one pan/one man show.
The cold air was filled with many new stories by Bruce along with some funny recycled jokes worth repeating. Lots of opportunity to catch up on the whereabouts of family and friends and hashing out life's many decisions. Hot dogs, steaks and a few beers were consumed. We welcomed all comers, although not many came. Most know you can't avoid the smoke-filled clothes and the ever-present cold feet.
Bill reported that after bringing the boiled sap into the house and finishing it up on the stove he was able to realize two gallons of golden syrup.
Another great season in the books. Let the Spring season begin.