It is hard to believe it is already April! The snow is gone from our yard at last. I actually walked across the grass to go over to the neighbors house for the first time Saturday since last fall. Our neighbors had the first bonfire of the year on Saturday night and while the boys and I had on our winter coats, Adam and some of the neighbors were in lighter coats or sweatshirts. There aren’t any noticeable buds on the trees yet or flowers anywhere, but I’m sure now spring is coming. The quietness of winter is being replaced with the honking of the geese migrating back and the chirping of birds. The ducks are leaving the pond more and waddling about the yard. I saw a fly for the first time yesterday, which I could have done without. I have never loved the time change as much as I have this year and the boys are starting to notice it is still light outside when I send them to get ready for bed. We flew a kite for the boys first time yesterday.
A mark of coming spring in a cold weather climate is the tapping of maple trees for the making of syrup. Saint John’s taps about 1000 trees each year and holds a Maple Syrup festival two Saturdays. The boys and I went both weekends and Adam joined us the second time. We learned how to recognize a sugar maple (irregular bark, symmetrical branching, blackening on the trunk), how much sap it takes to make each gallon of syrup (40 gallons sap=1 gallon syrup!), how much sap each tap produces (10 gallons), and got an explanation of how the evaporator works to boil off the water. Trumping even the ice cream with maple syrup was the horse wagon ride to and from the sugar shack where the festival was held. We ended up being the last wagon ride of the day on both days so we got an extended ride all the way back to the parking lot. The first Saturday Gabriel was tired out enough to fall asleep on the wagon on the way back. Last Saturday Isaac and Stephen got to sit up with the driver and tell her all about their birthday party. It was a fun rite of passage into spring and we look forward to the rest of the snow in the woods melting so we can resume our nature walks.