February 24, 2021
At long last! Sugaring season opens across the country, and it’s a snowy one! The steam is rising from sugar houses in New Hampshire, the ceremonial first tree-tapping is scheduled in Wisconsin, and people are coming together from different walks of life to celebrate the sweet coming of spring that is maple syrup.
The webs are also abuzz about some of the challenges to the industry, namely the Asian Longhorn Beetle, and climate change. And then, of course, there’s COVID; for many of us, this will be the second pandemic sugaring season. And the signs of the times are again upon us: Vermont and New York’s annual celebrations have been cancelled, and Maine’s has been modified. But the trees persist! Even in Washington State, where this commercial producer makes Bigleaf Maple Syrup, and this nonprofit is teaching west-coast backyard sugar makers how it’s done. So let’s keep hanging our buckets, folks!
For a long day in the sugar woods, consider starting with the ultimate breakfast sandwich: “The Fatso.” Also in food: Swiss style Bircher Muesli, Creamy Coconut Pasta with Crispy Tofu, Slow Roasted Maple Pork, and how famous chefs make pancakes.
Is birch the new maple? Some in Maine say “yes!” Here’s what you need to know about tapping a birch tree for syrup in your backyard. And for those who don’t sugar in the backyard in late winter, there’s always snow-sculpturing and igloo building. Or, for the best of us, turning your backyard into a food pantry.
Fast-forward to spring, and you have backyard victory-style gardening, planting backyard riparian buffers, budgeting for backyard hens, and making this work-from-home thing permanent with a spacious, prefab, backyard office.
Oh, and also: studying up on the difference between these backyard structures: arbors, pergolas, gazebos and trellises (oh my!).