Take Your Camera for a Ride

150508 Hicks Sugarhouse

There was a time when I carried my camera with me everywhere I went.  You just never knew when a moment would arise.  These days I usually have my phone but the camera never seems to leave the table at home.  I’m fortunate to have a lot to photograph around where I live but there are invariably those moments as I’m driving that the light is so perfect, the situation begging and my camera is sitting on the table in the living room. Ugh.  The phone just doesn’t cut it.

Last night I was taking photographs for a dear friend.  The sun had just set over the mountain and it was the ultimate spring day.  The weather was perfect, just a slight breeze and the surroundings were defined by the noise – the decided lack of it.  Babbling brook, air flowing through surrounding pines, birds singing their evening song.  There was color everywhere.  The hundreds of shades of green mixed with some still bare earth or last fall’s leaves.  The fruit trees and forsythia showing off.  Bluets everywhere.

I don’t do photography like I used to.  Long gone are the days of proms, weddings and portraits but with that also went the urge to shoot – anything.  I try to make an effort to take photographs for this blog or Instagram but sometimes it just feels like too much effort.  It feels like I have to think too hard it seems.

When I was driving home this spot presented itself.  I heard “Stop! Just stop” in my head and I did.  I stood in the middle of the road and took a couple of frames (are they frames now?).  Got back in the car and drove home knowing that this would be a keeper.

I realized that I really need to just take my camera for a ride every so often – a little after sunset or before sunrise in the morning.  You see the most amazing things and they are quite often things that no one else sees or pays attention to.  So try it, you’ll be amazed at what happens.

 

 

Gathering Sap – First Day of the Season

130309 Gathering (22)

We gathered sap for the first time this past Saturday.  The day was gloriously warm – over 50 degrees.  As you can see by the muddy road spring suddenly sprung.

 

130309 Gathering (2)

Bill is pouring the sap gathered from the buckets on the trees into a tank behind the tractor (driving the tractor was my job).

 

130309 Gathering (5)

 

We started gathering just as the sun was going down.  I’m not sure how many taps there were where there were buckets.  Most of Russel’s sugarbush has pipeline.

 

130309 Gathering (13)

This gather was particularly difficult because the trees were tapped before the last snowstorm so the walking was difficult.

 

130309 Gathering (12)

 

Especially since the town had winged back the snow banks.  Does this look like fun?!?  Although Russell wearing his florescent hunting gloves gave us fodder for ridicule.  You always need something to laugh about when you’re doing something this tedious.

 

130309 Gathering (6)

 

The buckets were only about a quarter full on every tree so you didn’t really feel like you were accomplishing a lot.

 

130309 Gathering (9)

 

It was getting darker and I was wondering if we would be doing this in complete darkness before long.

 

130309 Gathering (11)

 

But as we continued to say, many hands make light work.  If we thought about how long it would have taken with two people doing it this didn’t seem that bad.

 

130309 Gathering (16)

 

The photo of the tractor doesn’t really tell you how dark it was – there should be complete darkness with the headlights showing.

The tank was probably a quarter full when we finished but Russ and Bill pumped the sap from the other storage tanks on the pipeline into the sugarhouse and it was enough to fill the rig and check for leaks.  The first boil is a little more stressful than the rest because you don’t really know what kind of issues will crop up.  The equipment is only used for maybe a month once a year, stuff happens.

Sunday was even warmer than Saturday but the sap still isn’t running strong yet.  It may be that the snow is really insulating the feet of the trees, so as the snow melts the sap will run more.  We’re looking forward to a nice long season this year.