The First Harvest of Spring
Vermont is usually what comes to mind when people think about maple syrup. However, in the hills of northern Michigan, maple trees abound, and there are many folks who head out to the sugar bush to tap trees each spring. My family is among them.
In early March, Dad shovels out his “sap shack” to get ready for the impending start of the sweet stuff. As a child, I always loved maple syrup season because it meant longer days outside enjoying 45-degree weather (practically tropical after a long, snowy winter) and gathering buckets full of sap.
My folks always made it fun. While the sap boiled down into a delicious syrup, we had a cookout. Mom made potato salad and baked beans, and we roasted hot dogs on the fire, with s’mores for dessert.
I moved away after college, but five years ago, my husband, Cory, and I decided to return home to northern Michigan. Our daughter, Ember, was born in March 2016—a lucky month, I think! The following spring, she helped her daddy and grandpa make maple syrup for the first time. I am blessed to see her savor the sweetness of spring with her grandparents just like I did as a child.
- JAN BLANKENBURG Donnellson, Iowa
Ember Evans (with her dad, Cory) watches her grandpa Steven Yettaw boil sap to make maple syrup.