When white men invaded America, one treat their hosts furnished was maple syrup. It made the long trip worthwhile. Then after learning the syruping "recipe," the intruders trundled "sugarbush" saplings back home. No go. The trees would grow but the sap would not flow. Reason: wrong climate. Too late they learned that the only place maple sap flows is in American New England and eastern Canada, Michigan State included. So to this Californian-now-in-Michigan, the prospect of "sugaring" made him eager to make "some of that wonderful stuff."
And now with the "sugaring-off" season upon us, two weeks ago I purchased six stainless steel tree-tapping "spiles." Then with borrowed drill and drill bit, I poked holes in the nearby tree and it wept like a waterfall. So tapping in the spiles, I attached plastic milk jugs, and "let-er flow!" Next morning, nearly five gallons of clear-as-water maple sap went up to our kitchen and soon was boiling. I left for the dentist's chair. Upon my return, one whiff of indoor apartment air told the story: the boiling sap had quickly retrogressed from the "hard crack" candy stage to the "black crack" carbon stage. Ranelle felt sheepish, but I assured her that with the vast number of maple trees available for tapping, one miss step is but one tiny kink in the learning curve.
But then my conscience got to bothering. Something deep within suggested I had not been sent here to harvest tree sap. Then consulting with my companion, we reasoned together that we had accomplished our maple syruping purpose. So Sister O'Dell and I decided on the next thing to do--abandon ship.
I found a willing young man, handed him my sap-drawing paraphenalia, and finished out that phase of my mission--and one of my life's dreams.