Maple Syrup Time
MY GIRLFRIEND HAS TWO BIG MAPLES in her backyard in Traverse City. Her son decided to make homemade maple syrup and began tapping the trees last weekend. How cool is that. I trust the green plastic buckets he is using have been thoroughly washed. I’m more than confident that a word about safety and caution would have come from his mother. Mothers are like that.
As a young father, I took my sons to demonstrations at Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills in the early spring to watch the craftsmen boil the collected sap in their version of a “sugar shack.” I remember it was a covered lean-to full of steam, smoke, and curious onlookers. This spectacle was an eye opener, amazed that these large maple trees could be “tapped” to make something so delicious as syrup. My little boys had been solid users of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and our round kitchen table seemed always to have sticky spots here, there, and everywhere. The craftsmen demonstrating the "how to" of making something from nature really hit a chord with me.
Along the way I also had the idea of raising chickens for their eggs. The logic was that it was another example of nature’s magic. This allure lasted until I read a book about chickens. Yikes, a book that was supposed to teach you the joy of raising hens somehow hit my nerve to be cautious. It was so enticing, having been raised in suburbia, thinking that just out my backdoor I could have fresh eggs. It didn't happen.
I moved on to something more practical, growing pumpkins. I wanted to sell them on the side of the road on my old farm wagon, except there was too little water to keep the plants happy. Happy plants are essential to produce those large orange orbs. Plus, there was no traffic on our county road.
So, let’s get down to the brass tacks and reveal the truth about my many interests in growing or raising things. The reality is these fascinations come and go. I now want to grow apples at my girlfriend’s small city yard and then make apple pies and sell them on her corner lot where there is ample traffic. My imagination keeps me going. The problem on this one, there's too much shade from the maples and neither one of us likes to bake.