At least it stopped raining. For the moment.
This winter was a real winter and the Rampaging Snow Beast saw a lot of use this winter. Not like last winter where the brand new snow blower sat in the garage, trotted out but a handful of times.
So ist das Leben.
Spring, when it starts is a tough call up here. But, there is a definite sign that Spring has arrived.
When the collection of maple sap begins, it's Spring.
Nowadays, you see the pros linking the taps on the trees with plastic tubing which snakes through the woods about waist high. The tubing eventually winds its way to stainless steel collection tanks.
Which now have chains and locks on them to preserve their contents until the lawful owners show up.
It's a problem up here.
For those of us not in the business, the sign that spring is here looks like this:
And the tourists expect it. And tourism is a big deal up here. Really big.
Like, folks will stop coming up here if they don't find maple syrup.
Well, not exactly, but when you come to Vermont as a touristy-type, you expect some things.
Mountains, Green, one each.
Bed and Breakfasts.
And Maple Syrup. You can't run a tourist stop without it.
Genuine Vermont Maple Syrup.
If you've not had it, it's good stuff. It's worth the cost and really is different than the colored, thickened, sugar water pushed off on the undiscerning.
With any luck, sugaring season runs for at least three or four weeks. The days are above freezing and the nights just below freezing. This is the perfect weather for the sap to flow. Once they've collected it, they boil it down until it thickens to the right consistency and taste.
40 gallons of maple sap produces 1 gallon of maple syrup. The sugaring shacks are where they boil it down and the folks that do this put in long, hard, lonely hours. The boiling continues 24x7 while the season lasts so the sugaring folks toil diligently while they can.
Those that tap the trees in their yards and produce their own syrup are called back yard sugarers. For those of us not from up here, the whole concept of tapping the trees in your yard and making your own maple syrup is cool. Like walking out in your back yard and picking a banana off a bush in your backyard (been there, done that, and it was really cool).
As for the official end of Spring, that does not exactly coincide with the end of sugaring season.
Not even close.
There are, however, signs every bit as definitive as the proverbial burning bush. The appearance of the old cars.
The coupes. The Mustangs. The Model Ts.
The '79 Celica.
When my neighbor takes his '79 Celica out of storage and parks it in his driveway, I know that I can take the snow tires off of my car, the snow is over.
And everything blooms. Everything. Riotously.
This is what the end of spring looks like.
I like Winter. I enjoy the cold, the bite of the cold morning air, the squeak of fresh, dry snow underfoot as you walk upon it.
But I like seasons and despite my love of Winter, I found that this year I really was ready.