- by Kimberley Love

Our "Sunday boil" was always a family affair - with extended family and friends coming by for a social time at the sugarbush: helping to gather sap, haul firewood, keep an eagle eye on evaporator levels, or just sit around and catch up on the news. COVID has put a damper on these precious Sunday boil days in the Love sugarbush - memories of which stretch back into earliest childhood.

We grew up - my sisters and my cousins - riding the wagon behind the team of horses, gathering the buckets we could manage, pumping sap to the upper tank until our arms ached, and running to Aunt Christina to try our hand at negotiating for treats before the wagon pulled away for the next round of gathering. I remember as a child, falling asleep by the light of an oil lantern in the sugarshack: under my father's coat, while the men worked into the night to keep up with the sap.

We can't manage the same kind of social time this year, but my mom and dad have been able to spend a little time visiting and helping. After surviving COVID with them at the beginning of 2021, we're all counting our blessings together... while we're also counting the gallons, of course.

We'll have processed about 1000 gallons of sap today by the time the clock turns over to Monday. Some of it is still in the tank, but the night is still young.