Winding down

Right now I’m listening to a PodCacher podcast as I type, (episode 96.0) since I understand that it mentions our local geocaching website, SNEG (Southern New England Geocachers). There is a link to the site on their page, but I’m still interested in hearing the actual shout out. The program is about an hour long, so I might have a bit to go before they mention us.

With much reluctance, I shut down the sap collection part of this year’s maple sugaring operation yesterday. I had been meaning to find out if the maples actually stop running sap (or if they just continue to put out sap that’s less and less sweet) before I stopped collecting, but then I remembered what prompted me to shut down the last time I did this. Bugs. The day that I find fruity flies swarming around the ends of the spouts, sipping at the sap, it’s all over. Bugs mean that winter is gone and spring is here, and soon people aren’t going to care as much about maple syrup. And anyway, I’m a bit tired of it. I’ve had enough for the season. I’d like to have my evenings and weekends free again for other ventures. I’ve got a yard that needs cleaning, caches that need placing, caches that need finding, beer and mead that needs brewing…

At first I decided that I would continue to buy as much propane as I needed to boil down the sap I’d already collected. But here’s the thing… my hope is to make enough from this venture to upgrade my GPSr to a beautiful Garmin GPSMap 60cx. (Please, feel free to donate to The Cause.) Add to that: my monstrous impatience. As a rational being I know that I have all year to sell the syrup I’ve made, recoup my costs and pocket a tidy profit. As a geocacher with outdated equipment and a desire to kick some ass in the upcoming Great Northern Tier Geocaching Tournament 2007, I need to sell it NOW. Yesterday if possible. Due to this Need, I can’t justify purchasing one more tank of propane, even though I have almost enough stored sap to make another gallon of syrup. Every time I have to enter a purchase into my nifty spreadsheet and watch that running total column dip lower, even temporarily, I think I die a little bit inside. See, unlike that poem about the urn by the English guy, there are things or real worth to be found in the transient world, and they’re made by Garmin, and I must have one.

To be honest, I also want my evenings and weekends back. I’d like to be able to sit down when I get home from work and not have to get back up every half hour to check on the boiling sap. I’d like to go out on the weekends. I didn’t mind so much a month ago when there was snow everywhere and it was cold. And cold. Now it’s much warmer, I’ve officially switched to my dashing Spring jacket, new caches will be popping up soon and I’d like to be able to run out and get a few without wondering how long I can walk away from 2 jet engines of propane flame and trust that they’ll behave themselves in my absence.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel a bit guilty, or to a lesser degree, just wasteful. I put the effort into collecting 30 something gallons of sap, I feel like I should be using them. Precisely, I feel like I should be turning them into syrup, but luckily for me I have a backup plan that will satisfy my personal criteria for sap-usefulness. You can look for this sap to star in a beer or mead later on this season.

So, with my weekend now opened up what do you suppose I’m doing? I’m sitting here at the house waiting for a local couple who contacted us through my wife’s Etsy shop to stop by and purchase some syrup. Ironic, no? Except this irony sell for $7 a pint!


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