Spring in New England is like our silly cat. It lies on the floor. Still. Wagging it’s tail in anticipation. And then it pounces – really quickly – before you know what happened. Every year we wait through these long winters for the first sign of warm sun and early spring flowers, and then the crocuses bud, bloom and die in what seems to be a day. And the weather goes from the 40’s to the 80’s overnight, and we all find ourselves scrambling to find those bins with the t-shirts and shorts.
But there are those early spring days that one needs to look a little more closely to appreciate. When the ground is still covered with snow, and the air is still cold, but the pussy willows slowly start to show there fluff to all who are watching for it. The days subtly get longer, and the sun starts to warm the trees just enough for the sap to flow.
Of course, it doesn’t always go like this. And this year, after a winter with very little snow, and warmish weather from January on, we found ourselves on our annual sugar shack trip on a 70 degree day.
No sugar snow for us, but the first local crop is here, and that is reason enough to celebrate.
We are pancake crazy at our house – especially in the winter, when blueberry pancakes dominate the weekends – so what better way to celebrate spring, and sugaring season, than by eating them. We got to business at the Straw Bale Cafe, which I imagined to be some rustic place where you sit on straw bales, but really turned out to be a building actually made of straw.
I’m sure all that natural insulation would have been great for a winter’s day, but it was hot outside! And that’s where I wanted to be. Even though it did feel wholly unnatural to be eating our sugar season breakfast without earmuffs on.
As a side note – the heat was not great for the sugar farmers, but many of them now use tubes and vacuum suction to extract the sap, rather than just waiting for it to drip down into an old fashioned bucket (which are still ubiquitous in these parts). Staring at a bunch of tubes strung from tree to tree did not exactly cause reminiscence of my childhood (in Northern Vermont, when I could wander around in the woods, stealing sips of sap out of any bucket that crossed my path) but it still made me think – spring has arrived.
After our breakfast, we headed home for some spring cleaning. (Yes, that IS our Christmas tree)
This next photo scares the crap out of me. I think she just wasn’t in the mood to get her photo taken. Hopefully she doesn’t channel the pouty supermodel again until… well… ever.Later that afternoon, we went over to friends’ house to celebrate their son, Walter’s, fifth birthday.If there is anyone I know who was born to ring in spring, it’s Walter. He is such a sweet soul, full of life and silliness, and a ray of sunshine to everyone he meets. I didn’t count, but he must have said “thank you” to each person at the party at least ten times. True gratitude from a five year old could melt the coldest snow.
Walter told his parents he wanted to have hot dogs by the fire outside for his birthday, and that if it rained, people would just have to wear their rain gear. Fortunately for us, it didn’t. What a glorious day…
Claire – she looks like trouble, and she just might be…