News from Vermont #235 -- Rich for a Season
Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks
Hello again Maple People,
I'm rich...I'm RICH! Yup, my view of the valley this morning brings bright sunshine, springtime snow now appearing in patchwork, and the pledge of another sap run. And for a Vermont maple sugarmaker I say, what more can you ask than that? Money, you say? I say "money t'hell!". No, I've never had much use for big salaries or to put it in native Vermonter lingo..."ain't no p'centage in that". In fact, I was approached back in January by that supplement to the Sunday paper, "Parade Magazine" to be one of those folks who gets their picture published along with their salary. I thought about it (lot's of p'centage in free national mention!) but decided to pass it up...again in Vermont lingo: "ain't nobody's business how little I make!".
No, I don't make much but I'm truly rich. The other day a couple, Seth Frisbie and Erika Mitchell from the wilds of Adamant, walked into the sugarhouse. They are an interesting couple, not native Vermonters but I didn't hold that against them. He holds a doctorate and is a professor of chemistry at a local university. She is a great photographer and was snapping sugarhouse shots that day "t'beat the boilin'". They asked the usual questions about the evaporator and how our season was going but soon we were on the subject of growing our own food. Seth allowed that they have a huge garden every summer, raise a pig or two but specialize in chickens. They process so many chickens, in fact, they still have a freezer full here at the end of winter. As Seth related this, his eyes narrowed..."Please don't think I'm rich but I have a 'Featherman Pro' automatic poultry plucker with 114 rubber fingers". My reaction was instant, and in retrospect, rude...I laughed, rather, cackled, like an old mother hen..."Hahwp, hahwp, hahwppppck...that's funny" I said just before I realized that Seth was serious; this hard working college professor with a doctorate actually thinks someone will consider him rich because he owns a 'Featherman Pro' automatic poultry plucker with 114 rubber fingers.
"I'm s-s-sorry" I stammered, laboring for composure, "but you gotta realize how funny that sounds." Seth wasn't upset and even cracked a smile. He went on to describe the contraption with "finger lickin'" enthusiasm: "It'll undress a full-grown turkey in 30 seconds...Gosh there're times I've even considered throwing my wife in!". At that, Erika lowered the camera and glowered at him. Suddenly the humor came on with a whoosh, right along with the steam.
"I betcha Bill Gates doesn't own a chicken plucker" Erika said.
"For that matter, probably doesn't even make his own syrup!" Seth chimed in.
And I provided the punctuation, "Hell, ol' Bill ain't rich at all compared to us!".
I love that ancient sugarhouse for many reasons: the great syrup we've been making lately and the connections to my past it provides, but one of my most favorite reasons is because of the folks who come in. Yup, we've had some great ones down through the ages and Seth and Erika rate right up there with the best of 'em! Erika "Facebooked" me some of the best pictures of that old place I've ever seen. Seth provided me with plenty of "meat" for a story and I, well I ended up getting the best sap run in years and made lots of fancy syrup...fancy syrup, more new friends, an old sugarhouse to work in with the heavenly fragrance of fresh syrup boiling and steam against my face...yup, I'm rich all right. Eat your heart out Bill Gates!
Happy Easter...may the blessings of this season "richly" surround you with the blessing of peace.