Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thank The Lord For Maple Syrup

Cheap but effective tap
     After all the heavy Culture War stuff last week, I wanted to write about something light, or better yet, something sweet.  Why not maple syrup?  Despite cataclysmic global warming, excuse me, climate change, this has been the coldest winter I remember over more than forty years (on and off) in Maine.  But daytime temperatures have finally started  to get above freezing over the last day or two, and the sap is flowing at last. 
     Given that this is a Catholic blog, I suppose I should find a Catholic context.  How about this: maple sap is like Grace, it’s freely given, as long as we’re willing to receive it?  On the other hand, maybe the sap is like us, as it is refined and purified in a purgatorial process of boiling and cheesecloth.  Sometimes it’s so contaminated that it needs to be thrown out, although I once heard a liberal catechist say that we may know that sap can be thrown out, but we don’t know for a fact that any actually has been . . . shoot, I said I was going to stay away from culture war polemics, didn’t I?

Sap collects in jug less than an hour after it was emptied

     Maple syruping is also a great project for kids. For very little expense you can mount an operation that’s small enough to be manageable, but big enough to be worthwhile (see my earlier post here).  It’s a lot of fun, they can learn something about how to run a business, and they can save you the trouble of having to slog through the snow yourself with heavy buckets of sap (“Like arrows in the hand of the warrior, so are the sons of one’s youth; happy the man who has filled  his quiver with them” Psalm 127).
      In any case, the maples are sapping, and we should start boiling it down into syrup in the next couple of days.  I’ll keep you posted.

Mass production!