20 years in print, Sugaring tells the sweet, age-old story of gathering maple sap, the long hours in the sugar house boiling it down, and finally, the delicious product, maple syrup. But Nora isn't satisfied. She still wants something she can feed to the hardworking horses, Bonnie and Stella, and Gram knows what that something is.
When I was a kid we made maple syrup on the farm, about 45 gallons a year. My dad set up an arch in the front yard and gathered and boiled after work. Sugar making is a lot to add onto a full-time job driving trucks, but there wasn't much else to do in the way of farm work at that time of year. I loved the sweet taste of sap, and drinking a tiny glass of hot syrup as soon as it was done. Nowadays my favorite maple product is maple butter--not the pure maple product, but a mixture of hot syrup and good salted dairy butter, whipped together until it's silky and doesn't separate. Recipe to follow soon!
Sugaring came out in 1996, and I talked about it in schools for many years before any child ever asked me, "Is Gramp a Red Sox fan?"
"Why do you ask?" I said, and it was pointed out to me that he wore a Red Sox cap--which no one had ever commented on until finally, finally, the Sox won the series. I felt like I was participating in a moment of cultural shift. At last, Red Sox fans were lowd and proud.