This time of year is one of many memories. I grew up on a 15 acre hobby farm in Rockwood, ON, My Dad and Mom were quite active in the "homesteading" lifestyle. We had livestock, a huge vegetable garden, our house was wood heated, and in the basement a huge cold cellar filled with preserved fruit, jams, potatoes and liters of maple syrup. Every year as the Winter was breaking my Dad would set the jumbo bathtub sized vat on some cinder blocks out to the side of our house. The cinder blocks provided just enough clearance for a fire to be built underneath. He then would gather the collection pails, and spigots for the sap from the wood shed. It was always a fun time riding in the tractor's trailer with all the pails as we tooted around the acreage tapping the trees. I remember for many years one buddy would come with us to collect sap, and it was always a laugh as my Dad would drive the tractor through low branches to try to clip us. Dodging the branches one of us would yell "Duck!" and the other one would scream "Where?" looking around for a flying duck. I was to young to probably appreciate the constant night and day fire feeding my Dad had to do to make the syrup, but I do remember always being outside and willing to grab the small pitcher kept beside the kettle and dipping it into the liquid deliciousness and enjoy a hot glass of maple syrup. My siblings and I would pass the pitcher around the fire sipping the smokey golden brown syrup, as my Dad poured more sap into the kettle. In the end we would usually have in the cellar about 200L of syrup a season give or take. So folks, take a look at your local Conservation areas website. They usually have some sort of maple syrup festival happening now and the coming weeks. Here is Halton Conservation schedule, they have a fantastic sugar bush, and shack to visit.