Chronicles of a Sap Queen: Part TwoMarch 12, 2009 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
By: Melissa (Winter fellow ’09, Fall ’08)
It seemed as though life took a long pause after those first two days of maple tapping. There had been a heavy snow the next day and even though I knew I was fooling myself, I still trekked through the foot deep snow to check on the empty buckets. There was nothing royal about those moments and I began to have serious doubts about my reign as sap queen.
I finally began to come to terms with this dismal sap season. I was even thinking about other things I could be queen of. Rock Queen? Maintenance Queen? It was a true identity crises. There was a moment however, when I put those fears to rest. I was walking outside, still deciding what I wanted to be queen of that was more accessible; when suddenly I felt too hot for my jacket, and as I was taking it off, I looked around and I noticed that most of the snow had melted. That was the moment I said to myself, “I’m going to stick with Sap Queen, I have to”
The next day Shamu came up to me very calmly and said, “Go collect all of the sap; we are going to start boiling today.”
I answered calmly with my usual, “Sure! No problem!” But inside my heart was racing and my head was spinning. Everything seemed to be happening so fast and I had no idea how to boil sap. I didn’t have time to have another nervous break down. Shamu wanted to start boiling in an hour and a half and there had to be gallons and gallons of sap to collect. Marty assisted me through the sap collection in the shechuna where the sap was overflowing in the buckets. I felt like I was opening presents each time I lifted a lid, and seeing the sap filled to brim made me happier than I ever though sap could make me, and that’s when I knew I could never be queen of anything else.
We collected about 40 gallons of sap that day with the help of Jamie, and I felt ready to begin the next and final (kind of) step of making maple syrup.
I thought that I was going to have a tutorial, that it would be a while before we would actually begin anything. In the true teachings of Shamu, however, we dove right in, and I trusted that I would begin understand as we went along.
My first lesson: Fire Building; How to build the perfect fire using vegetable oil.
Lesson 2: How to keep the sap in a rolling boil
Lesson 3: How to keep the sap from burning and other sap maintenance techniques
Lesson 4: How to tell when the sap is almost syrup
There was a lot to take in, but the Sadeh’s gave me all the information I needed, and I felt ready and excited to take on the task.
To be continued……