- Doug Smith
Changing leaves and maple syrup
Like many people born and raised in Ohio, I look forward to this time of year for a variety of reasons. Growing up on the farm, I always enjoyed watching the farmers driving their combines day and night to harvest the beans and corn. I always enjoyed the Fall aromas in the air and the trees changing colors. Particularly, I watched the maple trees on my family farm turn brilliant shades of yellow and red.
As an adult, that same childhood anticipation exists. Only now, in my quaint Old Worthington neighborhood. A stone's throw away from my house stands several maple trees that turn the most brilliant yellows, oranges and reds I have seen. This week, one of those trees is rapidly changing and preparing for Winter.
In February or March, that same tree will be host to two galvanized buckets. Hanging from spiles inserted in the trees, the buckets will collect gallons of sap.
For the past three years, my family has tapped a dozen neighborhood sugar maples and silver maples to make maple syrup. It is a learning experience for my children, and for passers by who ask about the maple syrup process. It is a shared experience with our neighbors, because they are eager to check the sap throughout the day and at collection time. It is a way for me to tap into my childhood and appreciate a fruitful harvest with a lot of hard work.
Watching the trees changing colors is more than a reminder that Winter is coming. It is a reminder of life's seasons and cycles.