Georgette Heyer, Maple Syrup and Me

One might accuse me of being a bird witted, ninnyhammer when it comes to waiting for a watched pot to boil, but it’s a vexatious part of a havey cavey business.  I’m talking maple syruping. I’m talking finishing the sap after it’s gotten the old rake down in the outdoor boiling pans and is just about syrup. This process alone can put one in the deuce of a pucker.

While some may be junketing around the countryside enjoying rustication on a spring day, I must to the boiling pans. This often takes me into the suds.  It’s no flummery to boil down forty gallons of sap to just a whisker over a gallon of golden libation. Today’s haul is NINETY gallons of sap to boil down. This sets me up to be Friday faced by day’s end.

But not by a long chalk is this the worst of the matter.  The sap then goes into the house for a final finish boil.  This is a bit of a whisky frisky. This is when the old rumgumption begins, because first nothing happens and nothing happens and nothing happens.  The sap sits in pots on the stove, and it’s as much of a yawn as a proper jaw-me-dead to wait for the boil.

But then, suddenly it’s the worst hobble ever, because one paper skull or pea goose turn away from the pot always occurs JUST when the boil happens.  Then the sap goes all over the stove, the floor and every last frippery in sight.  Smoke alarms, burnt sugar, seething pots- it’s a horrid collation.

To give us petticoats our due, it is a rare hubble bubble of a project even for a pink of the ton. And if the pot fell to the care of  a half sprung shuffler?  Why, I’ve seen the most odious little bounce let a boil go, and sopped up the mess myself, make no mistake.  So, no matter the sure card that is at the stove, a bumble cloth of a boil over is bound to happen. Yes, even when you keep a focus bang up to the nines.

My solution of late? Georgette Heyer and her books about the Regency period in England. With one of her witty tomes perched over the skimble skamble of the boiling pot, I’m never in a quake nor falling into the dismals.  Instead I laugh with a gurgle and keep the watched pot under perfect control. I’m diverted with one eye on the pot and the other on my heroine’s handling of every loose fish in London. So far it hasn’t left me caper witted or flying up into the boughs. So far it’s resulted in some excellent syrup.