Hard work in late winter
Spring in rural New York is a hard-scrabble time of year. The weather March 1st was a good example. The afternoon was sunny and in the low 30’s. Ice melted to mud, the shop eaves were dripping, and spring seemed to be in the air. But the temperature dropped to 9 degrees and snow fell the next day. Maple Sugaring weather! Maple sap is collected for boiling to make maple syrup and maple sugar. The maple sap flows best when the days are above freezing and the nights are below freezing.
Maple sugaring is hard work. Forty gallons of sap are collected from buckets on the trees to make one gallon of syrup. The sap buckets are dumped in barrels, and the barrels hauled on a sled or cart. The sap is dumped in a collection tank. Then it is boiled down to syrup in heavy kettles or a rectangular “finishing pan” over a fire.