I sat down with a cup of coffee and opened my laptop to see if I had a few words in me this morning. I looked up for a moment, glanced through the window toward the back field, and wouldn't you know, it's snowing to beat the band out there. It also snowed all day Saturday. All day. March is always a tease, never sure if it's coming or going, but this year it has chosen to remain firmly planted in winter, for sure.
And so we take to the inside. I tend our seed starts and restock our lotion and reclaim our monthly budget and dream of the day I can finally plant peas in the ground. Sugaring brings us outside, but not too much. It's been slow. I'm so glad we thought to ask my uncle if we could borrow 60 taps and buckets this years as opposed to last year's 30. As it turns out, double the taps will yield less than half the syrup our 30 taps yielded last year. Yesterday my uncle told us a local sugar maker that usually produces about 800 gallons looks to be on track for about 100. It's the way it goes, this dance with nature and all the things beyond our control.
We're in our last few days of collecting and boiling now. In the end we'll have a few gallons which will serve us well, but a tough year for those that depend on sugaring as part of their income.
In a few weeks we're heading up to Vermont to finally spend some time on our land after purchasing it in early January. I learned from Adam's aunt that it is zoned arctic (zone 3-4) in terms of gardening. I thought it was 4a as opposed to our 6a down here in Connecticut, which I was making mental adjustments for... but throw a 3 in there? It's going to be a wild time learning to garden in such a climate. My mother in law loved her northern Vermont garden. She said the combination of cool nights and warm sunny days helped things to practically grow inches overnight. And of course Adam's grandmother had (has) incredible gardens over the years, growing and preserving much of her own food. It's just different and there will be many things to learn. I imagine our best chance at growing those beloved Brandywine tomatoes will be in a greenhouse. But I hope tiny, quick to ripen varieties such as Sungold or Matt's Wild Cherry will produce just fine in the open garden. There is no finer late August breakfast than a few handfuls of Sungold tomatoes, enjoyed while roaming the garden rows during the day's first light. Our Vermont vegetable garden this year will be small. I just want to put a few thing in the ground and see how they manage. Although, if I have the vision for placement (it takes a while to feel out a new place), I'd like to start planting some perennial fruit trees and shrubs, as well as herbs. We'll see.
Well, the snow is still coming down. You know, the best part of spring snow is that (for the most part) you get to ignore it. It'll melt soon enough so why fuss about it? This morning I'll watch the snow fall and happily ignore the clean up. There are two gallons of syrup to finish off and a batch of lip balm to make. A quiet Monday keeping busy inside, as we wait for spring's arrival on the outside.