Where Whine Meets Wine

My Sticky Sweet Family

How does your family measure your growth? A yard stick? Marks on the wall? When you’re big enough to go to the  bathroom by yourself? In my family, the sign of growth that we all longed for, and prided ourselves on once attained, was when we were old enough strong enough to carry a bucket full of sap. All on our own. There was a major sense of pride in being able to haul the heavy, five-gallon bucket all the way from the tree to the truck.

Why would one care about carrying around a bucket full of sap, you ask? Fair enough question. With a very simple answer- maple syrup. If you have only had the kind that comes in a plastic bottle from your local grocery chain… chances are you have no idea how much better the real deal is. Amazing enough to rock your socks off. Amazing. I am lucky enough to come from a family of syrupers. It has long been my favorite time of year. And my favorite smell is definitely the smell of the sap boiling, evaporating, and turning into syrup. Friends and family flock to my Grandfather’s “Sugar Shack.” From out of town and out of state.

It’s a family adventure.

Don't judge me- I was 12

It involves many, many hours of boiling, reboiling, filtering, bottling, and not much sleep. And it’s wonderful. The “Sugar Shack” (the building the evaporator, boilers, and bottling machines all reside in) is one of my favorite locations. Sadly, I did not get many photos of the shack itself, but lots of the syruping process. Hope you enjoy this glimpse inside my world. (Syrup Fun Fact: It takes 40 gallons  of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.)  

Don'tcha just love my boots?

And because there just isn’t enough space to show you every picture of the process, enjoy this slideshow featuring photos of the evaporator, boiling off of the sap, hubbyman fixing some taps that the wind had pulled the buckets off, and more!

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The day after I took these photos, my grandparents received a phone call. It was a Twin Cities news crew asking to do a piece on how the warmth of this winter and spring have effected the syupring season. You should definitely watch the video and hear my grandfather’s response. This year’s season lasted all but 7 days. Most years it’s a full month. At least we’ll always have next year.