Gardeners in my area look forward to planting their peas on St. Patrick's Day which is a quick seven days from today. I think we can safely say that will not be happening this year. For so many weeks now, the temperatures have remained below freezing which has not only prevented any snow from melting, it has also made the snow quite solid and easy to walk on top of (especially on our well traveled snowshoe trails), meaning it was hard to really know just how deep the snow still was in the woods. This weekend things finally began to warm up ever so slightly and now when you walk across the snow with boots you sink straight to the bottom. All of this to say, when I went out for a walk in the woods yesterday, I sunk straight to the top of my nearly knee high snow boots. Oh boy... there will be no planting of peas seven days from now.
But we do have many sugar maples tapped! With a very generous loan of equipment from my uncle we set out thirty taps. So far we've collected close to forty gallons of sap and Adam has been boiling at my uncle's house. In part for our purposes but he also helped to give tours and demonstrations as this weekend was our town's annual maple fest - folks come from all over the state and beyond. My uncle's set up is pretty much the Shangri-La of sugaring. Imagine a spacious, beautiful 19th century reproduction post and beam sugar house filled with sparkling stainless steel tanks and evaporators, and an endless supply of meticulously stacked wood (pictured on my cousin's blog) - all nestled in the woods beside a pond and rambling brooks. His place is not only incredible fodder for a blogger like me, but it would just as easily catch the attention of an editor at Mother Earth News. One thing though... he's a really private guy who prefers to keep the internet at arm's length so I'm not comfortable sharing photos of his place. I will be sure though to take photos of our final syrup supply. Stay tuned for that!
I feel like we're in a place of waiting these days. Not able to recall a winter where we've had this much snow so late in the season, I wonder when spring will ever arrive! Yesterday I was out in the back field with my neighbor as our dogs played for a good thirty minutes. She asked me about my gardening plans and it felt like such an out of place question as we stared at the completely snow covered (by at least eight inches) field in front of us. Of course, it wasn't an out of place question, after all, I should be planting those peas in seven days.
This is a much prettier green than my camera picked up.
It still very much feels like winter here so I've been keeping warm with wintry things like knitting and cooking. I cast on my first adult sweater on number 5 needles - not sure what I was thinking, I'm going to be here for awhile! We've been enjoying lots of warm, cooked greens, and bowl after bowl of soups and stews.
Warmer days will come for sure. As slowly as this winter seems to be departing, spring will eventually arrive just the same.