Of Spring, Maple Syrup, and Blood Oranges

Remember the last photo of the bulbs that I planted? Here is how they look now:

I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me every time I go into the kitchen to look at them. What a miracle! And the days are longer (about 2 minutes per day right now), and it is sunny and warm today, so life seems pretty darn good (although my heart is heavy with thoughts of all the sorrow in Japan, Libya, and other parts of the world).

In spring the maple trees in Indiana do their thing. Thank you, Native Americans, for showing us how to use maple sap! So in the spirit of springtime and maple, I made a pilgrimmage to Harris Sugar Bush, a cool family business in Greencastle, Indiana. They use tubing to collect the sap:

On one single day, they collected 10,000 gallons of sap. But it takes 20-50 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup. They have to take out the water through a reverse-osmosis system, and then boil it in an evaporator. Then it’s strained and bottled and people like me can buy half a gallon of grade B (darker than grade A, but I like the taste better) for $27.

I didn’t have cash or a check, so Mrs. Harris let me take $45 worth of syrup and send her a check later. She says she has never had anyone not pay–so I guess I will be the first! (Just kidding, I was frantic until I sent a check.)

In Greencastle, we stopped at Fairview Family Restaurant, home of a giant steer on the roof:

And I ordered this:

I know. I’m ashamed of myself. But it was really good, and I only ate about half of it.

About a week ago I ordered 20 pounds of blood oranges. Partly because I have been watching “Dexter,” and partly just because they sounded good–and they are!

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