Lately when people come into our house the first words out of their mouths are, "What is that smell?" Slightly sweet, a bit earthy, hard to place. "It's syrup!" I squeal, barely restraining my delight. When an arborist paid a visit to our new house and checked out the trees I was deeply hoping we would have some maples on our property. And I was quite disappointed when I realized there were no sugar, no silver, no red maples to be found. Ah, but we have box elders! Three of them, in fact. And, yes, they are a kind of maple. "Can you tap them to make syrup?", I asked? The arborist paused a moment before doubtfully dismissing the idea.
But it turns out, you can!
And we did.
And I must thank my husband, who, in the face of remodeling half a house and moving our family, when confronted with my idea to add another project to our list of things to do right now - maple syruping! - not only responded with a "sure, let's do it", but diligently checked our sap bags when he was working at the house and lugged the heavy 5 gallon bucket full back day after day so we could boil it all down. He's also the one who makes Saturday morning waffles and pancakes on which we've been generously pouring our own sweet and sticky box elder maple syrup, so a double thanks and a big smooch to him.