Finally, we’ve had a slight (and what I’m sure will be temporary) break from the cold temperatures and the mountains of snow that January and February have brought us. With just this little hint of sunnier and milder winter days, both Ben and I have maple syrup on the brain. So, this past weekend, Ben took the boys to our our local hardware / farm supply store–Paris Farmers Union–to get maple sugaring supplies. It’s funny–our neighborhood is full of big, beautiful trees. The majority are old oaks, though there are maples as well. Many of them tower over our small back yard, but most are not actually on our property. Of the trees that are in our yard, there are two, smaller, not-exactly-healthy-looking oaks in the back, and one maple out front. This is the first year we’ve actually tapped this tree, I suppose because she’s always seemed like such an unlikely candidate. She’s a bit oddly-shaped, and has had many limbs removed over the years. She sits almost on the road, and her roots have grown out under the sidewalk in such a way that the granite curb and the asphalt are totally buckled and broken. She’s always seemed a bit lonely to me, and a bit awkward and out of place, wedged into that tiny strip of soil between sidewalk and street. But, if nothing else, she’s a maple. And so this year we decided to give her a try. Who knows what she’ll yield in terms sap–we’ll have to see. She may never feel like a pretty tree, but perhaps this year, she might at least feel of use.