As most of you stare out of your window today I can only imagine that you don’t what to see any more white stuff. It’s been six straight months of it and honestly it’s starting to wear down even the most hardy of Wisconsin and Minnesota residents—and they wonder why we have a drinking problem! However with every downside there is supposed to be a upside, right?
My goal today is to cheer you up and show you that cold, snowy weather can be good for something. First of all, it’s been a great year for collecting maple syrup if you have a means to get around in the snow. The extend period of time where temperatures go above freezing in the day and then back down is just what the doctor ordered for that process. I really enjoy making maple syrup but it’s certainly a lot of work. Last year I made a mistake and overcooked my sap and caused it to become supersaturated. As the liquid cooled there was more sugar in the solution than it could hold at the lower temperature. The minerals present actually worked to seed a crystallization process with the sugar, and you can imagine my surprise when I went to get a jar of syrup only to find something growing in the bottom of them. The crystals were so big that I had to break the jars to get them out, but it felt like a worthy sacrifice as they were so beautiful.
My outcome was better than a friend’s, who had a bear follow his sap line this year and bite holes in over twenty bags of tree sap to fill his empty belly. The long winter has certainly been hard on a lot of wildlife, driving other animals to show up at my bird feeder for an easy meal. One such visitor is an almost two-year-old albino doe. I’m certainly hopeful that she will have many more years to come.
Another visitor to my house has been a Barred Owl, who has been hunting for mice, voles, and rabbits. An easy meal for one can turn deadly for another, but that truly is the spirit of nature and one that I enjoy watching. So as you stare out that window today and try to wish away that white away keep in mind that snow can be a nice thing to see after all.