Spring approaches in the Adirondacks, but no one is slathering on the sun block or slipping into shorts just yet. Maple producers around Thurman recently have shared stories of wallowing on snow shoes through fluffy drifts in cut-to-the bone winds in order to set taps for this year's sugaring season. Those who use plastic tubing to deliver sap to the collection vats have been out running new lines, repairing old ones, and making sure all is ready for the running of the sap. The weather toys with them, flitting playfully above freezing for a couple of days, then dropping twenty degrees and dumping more snow -- sometimes the kind of snow that can snap tree limbs, limbs that then fall on newly strung sap lines. Once the sap begins to flow in earnest, the boiling will begin. In a good season the task on a given day can go on for hours on end. Tales are told of sugarmakers who literally fall asleep on their feet beside their evaporators, steam crusting hair and eyebrows with crystals of sugar.
Sugaring is tough work, but those I know who engage in it, love it. "I think most sugarmakers are a little bit insane," observed Dave DeLozier, publisher of Ecolocal Living magazine, when I recently submitted an article I'd written about Toad Hill Maple Farm's new sugarhouse. Most sugarmakers I know would agree, readily admitting that the amount of work they do, the need for blind trust in weather known to be fickle, and the expense of equipment and supplies all set them up for failure. A compulsion drives them out into the sugarbush each February and March anyhow.
This year, as in years past, Thurman's maple producers, along with a local sawmill, will roll out the carpet for visitors each of the last three weekends in March. It begins with Thurman Maple Weekend, March 12 and 13, when Valley Road Maple opens at 9 a.m. for pancakes, and the other three sites open at 10 to offer tours and demonstrations. That first Saturday is crowned by the annual Maple Sugar Party, a buffet supper to raise money to fight cancer. Hod Ovitt and the Warren County Ramblers will be on tap to make the occasion festive, and a dessert of pure Thurman maple jack wax will leave no sweet tooth unsatisfied.
The breakfasts, tours and demonstrations will continue on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of March, as Thurman producers participate in New York State Maple Weekends. For details on the event, how to find Thurman and navigate to all sites, please visit the Thurman Maple Weekends web page. You'll enjoy attending this event. If you are from out of the area, check out our local B&Bs on Thurman's web site, www.Thurman-NY.com, and spend a leisurely weekend in the Adirondacks.
Publicity for Thurman's maple events is made possible, in part, by use of Warren County Occupancy Tax funds, granted by the Town of Thurman.
Adirondack Gold - A novel by Persis Granger, personalized for you by the author
A young Adirondack boy of the 1890s strives to understand his father's death and forge a bond with his embittered grandfather by reopening the family's maple sugarhouse. Historical fiction for kids 12-99.
Adirondack Gold II: A Summer of Strangers
Strangers enter the life of Hollis Ingraham during a summer of hard times for his family and difficult choices for him. Historical fiction for kids 12-99
Shared Stories from Daughters of Alzheimers- Writing a Path to Peace, edited by Persis Granger
I've written two historical novels for kids 12 - 99, "Adirondack Gold," and "Adirondack Gold II: A Summer of Strangers." I've also contributed to and edited "Shared Stories from Daughters of Alzheimer's; Writing a Path to Peace." Each year, under my business name Fiction Among Friends, I host The Adirondack Mountain Writers' Retreat in the Lake George Region of New York, in summertime, and The St. George Island Writers' Retreat on the Florida panhandle in November. I also edit the Quarterly, published by the John Thurman Historical Society. I freelance when I can, and have placed articles in "Adirondack Life," "Adirondack Family," "Healing Springs," "BackRoads," and "Adirondack Guest Infomer." Since the summer of 2009 I have helped organize the Second Thursday Readings at Willows Bistro in Warrensburg, NY. Please read more about my projects and passions at www.PersisGranger.com or www.FictionAmongFriends.com.