What a beautiful weekend for Maple Open House. George was giving us the details this morning about visitors, gallons made and the wonderful weather. He even brought in some Maple Sugared nuts for treats. Now for bragging rights, he should compete at the 2011 Vermont Maple Festival this coming April 15-17th. I wouldn’t mind being a judge for that.
Open to Vermont residents, the Maple Festival has a syrup, product and cooking contest. Entries can be dropped off at Extension offices in Berlin, Middlebury, Morrisville, Newport, Rutland, St. Johnsbury, South Burlington and St Albans. You can also go to the FSAS agency office in White river and at Couture’s Maple Shop in Westfield. No drop-offs at Brattleboro though. All entries are due by 3:00 on the 13th of April. I teased that any maple cakes left in Morrisville should be doubled for ‘pre-judging’ by staff. Not really, but it would be fun to be a judge for this. Here is maple cooking contest rule sheet.
And as Sugar season is in full swing another season is here too. One not as pleasant and frankly a bit messy, mud and pothole season has come upon us. This year the Vermont roads, especially the paved ones, seem to be pretty bad. The problem is that you don’t always know where the potholes are when they are filled with water. I drove over to St. Johnsbury the other day and between the frost heaves and the pot holes, defensive driving took on a whole new meaning. If you don’t want to do damage to your rims, you should just slow way down.
With our dirt roads around here, some are notorious for squishy driving. Mud City Loop is one such road around here. And with the mud, if you are going too fast, you can go off. Or if you get too close to the edge, you can sink on the shoulder. Or you get just plain stuck. I have bottomed out in the mud ruts before and the damage the dirt and mud does on the wheels can really affect the life on your brakes. If you hear grinding when you are breaking, then checking in with the mechanic would be a prudent stop.
The coming of mud season also coincides with the waking up of the skunks. George saw one by the sugar house this weekend. There has been one around my house too, leaving it’s pungent calling card all around the garage entrance, where no doubt it is looking for cheep eats. I am mindful not to let the dog out to encounter this guest on his own.
As all of these spring things come about, some not so pleasant, it is a reminder that the summer and planting season are not far off. Even if it is snowing again today.