Despite two feet of snow cover, the long afternoon shadows are a sure sign that spring is just around the corner and it's time to get ready for sugaring. One day we'll awake, the sap will be running, we'll have to scramble to wash and hang buckets, and then we'll stay up until midnight boiling syrup while drinking wine and talking to our friend Paul in Vermont who is doing the same thing - comparing boiling points, evaporation rates, and debating the pros and cons of wood for fuel versus propane. He has a new arch this year, and will probably boil in an hour what will take us an afternoon, even if we get our new pan, but our syrup is sweet and rich, and fun to make.
Then, seemingly overnight, the pastures will turn to chartruse and we'll stay awake listening to the spring peepers who remind us to get the fields harrowed and get our early crops in. We're going to try some hot beds this year made out of storm doors and windows salvaged from our renovation project, and the radiant heat floor in our new office will probably play double duty as a propagating house. Bottom heat and southern exposure should help get a jump on some of those hard to germinate plants.