PREFACE: We started tapping out our sugarbush on February 16th and finished by moonlight on the 25th. That’s the day the sap started to run. Sugaring is like back-to-back marathons, and this year we got no time to warm up before the race.

This is the year of the new: new taps on state land, new-fangled taps, new sap shed, new sap tanks, new vacuum pump, new reverse osmosis machine. I feel like a spectator gaping at the latter two. But Lew isn’t gaping, he’s tackling one crisis after another. New sugaring equipment doesn’t come with operating instructions. But then again, sugarmakers are inherently an independent, resourceful bunch, darn good at figuring things out.

So the weather has been good for early season – only

about 30 at night and mid-30’s by day. Sugaring is an exercise in giving up control, starting with the weather.

Above all, sugaring is a privilege.