Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I am rich

Today I was the richest person in the world. I had buckets of fresh air and clean, white snow to breathe all to myself. I have more unadulterated oxygen and nitrogen molecules in my own lungs in one day than much of the world gets to breathe in a year.

Thanks to the miracle of a gas-powered chain saw and an axe, I have as much firewood as I can greedily burn (well, for a few days). I have enough fuel at my fingertips to keep several African families in cooked dinners for months. And if I run out of the split and cut stuff, all I need to do is walk ten feet out my door and gather enough to support an Asian town for a week. But I don't even need to burn all this - I have the luxury of sitting next to a warm fire in an efficient wood stove as I boil down sap for a purely non-essential dietary treat.

I had all the drink I needed - no worries about water for tea - I had boiling hot sweet sap in massive quantities right next to me. I was warm, I was dry, and I had clean snow to wash my cup with after.

And that luxury is supplied by the natural world around me, which I am rich beyond measure for being able to take advantage of. So few in the world are in the right place at the right moment with the right kind of trees and the disposable time necessary to collect the blood of the sugar maple tree that runs only during a few weeks of the year, sit next to a stove with plenty of fuel - fuel for no purpose other than to make a sweet syrup - and to enjoy the purity of five inches of snow in April.

40 gallons of sap, a roof over my head, a stove and a lot of wood. Today, I am a millionaire.


Tim and Karin Bodony said...

Can we order a pint or two of Brewster syrup please?

We could pick it up when we cross paths with Brewsters later this month on our trip.

The birch sap will be running here soon, and we are now inspired to tap some birches, thanks to your recent syrup blogging. Birch syrup, however, cannot compare to maple. It's rather bitter.

Erica in Vietnam said...

We're going to attempt to finish some syrup this weekend - if it is successful syrup will make it's way to the rendezvous point on the agreed-upon date.

I've heard birch sap is bitter, but have never tasted it myself. But sometimes it the process and not the result that matters. ;-)