A Chilly Day then a Stellar Day for Vermont Maple Weekend

IMG_0177Last weekend was Vermont Maple Weekend. Sugarhouses across the state were open for visitors. We started the day Saturday at Shelburne Farms, with their annual pancake breakfast, a fundraiser for the local 4H. It was not especially crowded. We have attended several years in a row and it is often so crowded that seats at the long tables are scarce and the line for pancakes is long. Not so last Saturday. It was too cold.

The temperature when we arrived was maybe 21, 22 degrees, but the wind was whipping. The wind chill was easily in the single digits. Lots of people there were ready for spring, but pushing the season with a lighter jacket does not make it any warmer. My parents were visiting and they were not the only ones to turn back before exploring the sugarhouse. No steam was coming from the sugarhouse roof, so it looked like that refuge would not be all that warm. It turns out they were boiling but they had just started; a head of steam had not built up yet.

Steam just making its way out of the sugarhouse

Steam just making its way out of the sugarhouse

Inside the sugarhouse

Inside the sugarhouse

We watched some boiling and sampled some syrup (it had a hard time flowing from the small paper sample cups given the temperature). We walked up into the sugarbush and had some sugar on snow. We checked out the live bird demonstration. We had fun but we did not last as long as other years. We got chilled.

Sap lines running downhill but mostly frozen

Sap lines running downhill but mostly frozen

IMG_0158

One-eyed Screech Owl

The next day we went skiing. The sun came out and we had a perfect spring skiing day. It had snowed the night before so up high enough the snow was powdery. Once the sun warmed things up a bit, the lower snow was corn snow–loose, large grains. We were warm in the sun and skiing down fast. It was a treat. So we started off cold but ended the weekend feeling like spring was ready to really hit us.

We made a stop at Shelburne Sugarworks as well, but they were so busy it would have taken a good chunk of time to fill our glass gallon jug. So we put that off. We will need to get over there soon to get that filled up. We will want that sweet liquid over this next year. Those awesome buttermilk pancakes just are not as good without it.

Perfect day for skiing

Perfect day for skiing

Jammie Day

Rain in Hinesburg

Rain today. I had considered heading out early to try to find some high elevation birds but thought better of it. It is the time of year for Mountain Birdwatch surveys, and I would need to be on top of a mountain by 4:00 AM. Birds won’t be out if the weather is too poor, so getting up in time to be at the start point by 4:00 AM isn’t what I’m talking about if it’s raining. I am glad I put it off. It was raining hard at 5:00 when I woke (briefly) this morning.

The children are still in pajamas. They are not in the same pajamas with which they started the day. They changed into cozier ones as the day has been damp and chilly. Current temperature, high for the day so far: 57 degrees.

I have been inside most of the day. I could have planted those late spring bulbs, but I called it on account of rain. Too wussy. My wife is out for a run at the moment. It wasn’t raining much at all when she left. She will be soaked when she gets back, however. Pouring, that is how you might describe the weather at the moment.

Soggy, soggy. I should put on some jammies myself. And brew up some decaf. And maybe make some popcorn. And read a book. I’m not getting to many projects today, in any case. I’m good with that.

Rain on the Deck