Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sugaring Series 6

The state of Vermont provides maple syrup makers with this little box of standards. The color of the freshly made syrup is matched against these samples. The new batch is then graded accordingly from 'Fancy' (lightest, most delicate) to 'Grade B' (dark and strong).  

Let me take this moment to thank you all for your thoughtful comments on this blog, your wonderful support, your charming humor, and your own amazing blogs which delight, inform and engage me every day.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sugaring Series 5

Now we've moved to a different sugaring operation. This is Jon and Tammy Sargent's sugarhouse in Guilford, Vermont. They have an entire building devoted to making maple syrup. The evaporator fills about 70 percent of the floor space. The Sargents use tubing to collect their sap instead of buckets and they produce enough of the delectable liquid sunshine to sell internationally.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sugaring Series 4

Because this is a small operation, the evaporator is about the size of an outdoor barbecue grill. Notice the wood in the background. Those pieces are cut to fit in the small firebox beneath the channels where the sap is boiling down. The steam rising from the sap smells warm, sweet, and maple-y.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sugaring Series 3

After the sap has been gathered, it rides in the sled back to the sugar house.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sugaring Series 2

The bucket is lifted off its tap and the sap that has accumulated in it is poured into a plastic gathering pail. Then the sap bucket is quickly rehung to collect the continuing run. After all the buckets are emptied, if you stand quietly in the woods, the dripping of the many taps makes a little symphony of sound.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

sugaring series 1

Last week I posted a photo of sap buckets hanging from a tree. The story picks up here in Peru, Vermont where, after a few very cold days, the temperatures are starting to rise again and the sap is recommencing its run.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

long view

Sometimes it's right to look closely at what is immediately in front of you;
sometimes it's right to lift your eyes and look toward the horizon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the path

Where our boots have walked, a spine of earth is revealed.

Monday, March 23, 2009

seeing is believing

The backyard is still deep in snow but look what I found out front yesterday...Spring!

Jacob and Lois Anne, thank you for the "I Heart This Blog" award.
I'm delighted!
It is such a joy to be a part of the CDPB community.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Does anyone remember Spanky and Our Gang?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

the wood pile

As the days grow longer and warmer, the woodpiles grow smaller and smaller. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

sure sign of spring

The fishing shanties are being pulled off the mealy ice on the Retreat Meadows.
Only three shanties remained when I checked yesterday. With the ice too unsafe to walk on I'm sure it will take some fancy footwork to bring those away.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

sap's up

When the temperature climbs above freezing during the day and drops below freezing at night the sap begins to rise in the maple trees. This sap is gathered in buckets and brought to a sugarhouse where the majority of the moisture is boiled off leaving the most divine pancake topping known to mankind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

if only on a florist's board

Those balloons may look deflated, but our dreams of Spring remain.
Happy St Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

window of opportunity

In the sunniest spots the snow has started to recede, revealing the crushed vegetation beneath.
Winter has taken the opportunity to gnaw on this wall.
It, too, has begun a path of receding and revealing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oak Crest

This is the back entrance.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Newfane Country Store

This display of Vermont maple products is just one section of the rambling country store in Newfane. You can wander from room to room and see quilts and crafts, books and stuffed bears, fabric and fudge, etc. I stopped there on my way to Townshend the other day because the roads were snow-covered and slick. I simply waited there until the plow came along, then followed it up the road.

Friday, March 13, 2009

tunnel vision

I shot this on the way to Logan Airport in Boston.
Don't worry, I wasn't doing the driving.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

this old house thursday

What a view, perched above the town, overlooking the Chestnut Hill reservoir to the west and the Connecticut River Valley to the east.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

this old dog house

Retired now, this old house sits on a piece of the Windham County Humane Society's property.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

sleeves of snow

Even the smallest twig was wearing a sleeve of snow yesterday.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

is that a robin i see?

Ever vigilant, we are all watching for signs of spring.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

a tale of two bridges

The bridge on the right served travelers crossing the Connecticut River from Vermont to New Hampshire until it became unsafe and was replaced by this new bridge, designed to mirror the arched aesthetic of its older sister.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dutton's Market

This little market on Route 30, about a ten minute drive north of Brattleboro, offers fruit and vegetables grown a few miles away on their farm, pies, cookies, and tarts baked in their kitchen, slices of sharp cheddar cheese cut from a big wheel, maple syrup and various kinds of honey and jam.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

this old house thursday

I frequently walk past this house as the sun is setting. Inside there are probably several pools of slanting light spilling across the floor as the sun drops into the west.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

town meeting day

Yesterday, regular citizens from towns and villages across Vermont gathered in community halls, granges, schools, and other venues to debate and vote on budgets and issues concerning their town. Alas, Brattleboro is too large for a real town meeting so we vote by Australian ballot. These three were running for town offices.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

double the fun

I found these twins playing in the snow. It was cold but they didn't seem to mind at all.

Monday, March 2, 2009

waiting for spring

The porch chairs are out but no one is sipping iced-tea quite yet.
It's snowing again here in Brattleboro.
Thank you all for your great comments on yesterday's post.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This gazing globe is located in the Lyman Glass House on the Smith College campus (about an hour south of Brattleboro). It is a glorious place to go when winter's teeth threaten to devour the last shreds of sanity.