Even though there are still snow banks higher than my head here in New Hampshire spring is in the air. It may not be easy for everyone to spot but if you’re a fourth-generation sugar maker like me you really notice the subtle changes in the season. Every year, just as you think you can’t take one more minute of cold, it’s time to tap the maple trees and to boil down sap into syrup.
Since it requires forty gallons of sap to produce just a single gallon of finished syrup, I put a lot of miles on my snowshoes every sugaring season, placing taps and running tubing to collect the sap. But I don’t mind. In fact, I look forward to it. After all the months cooped up in the house nothing beats being out in the fresh air and sunshine, listening to the chirps of birds and chatter of frisking squirrels. At this time of year the sugar bush is my favorite place to be.
I like it even more once my great-aunt Hazel arrives for a visit. Every year she shows up in Sugar Grove in time for the annual Maple Festival. The festival is famous all over the region. Unfortunately, Hazel is even more infamous. People in town talk about her in hushed tones, like they don’t want to tempt fate by being overheard saying her name.
Hazel may be in her eighties but she still ends up at the police station and the emergency room at least once every visit. The only place you can count on her not getting into trouble is out in the woods because she’d have to pitch in and be useful there.
Even with Hazel’s visit and the responsibilities I have for my business and for helping to put on the Maple Festival, I wouldn’t trade a day of it with anyone. After all, when you spend your time making maple syrup, life seems very sweet indeed.
You can read more about Dani in A Sticky Situation, the third book in the “Sugar Grove” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first two books in the series are Drizzled with Death and Maple Mayhem.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 30 for the chance to win a print copy of A Sticky Situation. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.
About the author
As a nearly lifelong resident of the Granite State, Jessie Crockett naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing frosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. When not working on her next murderous adventure she combs the beach, designs bento lunches ad throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools. Jessie lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small many other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Hearing from readers makes the winters seem shorter so please visit her at www.jessiecrockett.com.