The ground has been mostly snow covered since last November. That's the biggest difference between everyplace else we've lived and Vermont. In Connecticut, or Washington State, snow usually melts pretty quickly. Here in ski country, it's really winter.
Why did we move to Vermont, again? For lots of sentimental reasons. And a few practical ones.
Lisa and I lived in Windsor Vermont when I was the Program Director of radio station, WHDQ | Q106.
It's a huge 50,000 watt Rock Station. I'm the guy who changed the format from easy listening to Rock. If that sounds like I'm bragging, I am. I love the music this station plays today so much that I'm doing a Sunday afternoon show for fun from 3-7pm eastern. By myself! But I can take phone calls.
Flashback. One Saturday in 1979 Aerosmith just dropped by Q106 unannounced. They had some live tapes and they wanted to borrow our production room to listen to them. I was the boss, and I was home when I got the call, but I said sure, let them in. Steven Tyler got on the air with our weekend jock and started dropping f-bombs. I quickly hustled over to the radio station to reign that in, and to hear the tapes!
They were awful. Let's just say this was a few years prior to rehab. For all of us.
After making sure there was no tell tale powdered doughnut debris left in the studio, we let the guys out. At the door was this cute gal who said hi to Steven. That's the first time I saw my future wife Lisa.
We were married in Windsor, VT. December 18, 1981 during a blizzard.
From VT/NH we went on to Worcester, where I did my first morning show with my dear friend Zip. That was hugely successful and lasted 6 years. During that time Keith and Andrew were born.
Today Zip and I do a 12noon-4pm Saturday afternoon show, on Worcester's The Pike 100 FM.
So I'm a weekend radio jock, and I love it. If Spike and Joe want to do this I'm in. I'm so happy to see them both in fulfilling positions. Joe is a saint, which is another word for Teacher. Spike is still the smartest funniest man I've been blessed to work with. I listen to him and Nate online at KZOK.
For Lisa and I, its great to be here in New England with all of our family (brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews totaling over 50 people when we all get together) though we miss the Northwest, and all of our friends from the last 25 years.
I used to joke that in Seattle there are two seasons, Rain, and Drought. Having moved back to New England you get 4 seasons theoretically. But there are actually 7 seasons:
Holy Shit it's Cold, Sugarin Season, Mud Season, Black Fly Season, Horsefly Season, Muggy Season, Leaf Peeper Season.
Good news is that if you don't like the weather, it will soon change.
Which brings me to Maple Syrup. If you read this far, thanks. If you jumped ahead that's ok too.
Long time friends and listeners know I've always loved agriculture. Beekeeping, growing Blueberries, Gardening.
Living in Vermont surrounded by maple trees, it was inevitable (though I did not plan this) that we would boil some Maple Syrup. This is the kind of hobby where you try to break even, or at least lie to yourself and say that you came close. (We are definitely in the latter category).
Last year, we made 22 gallons and sold 1/2 online, using the USPS Fixed Rate Priority Mailbox to ship a gallon (2 1/2 Gallon Containers) to the first 11 people to respond and submit a PayPal. This year I'm selling 20 gallons (have boiled about 37 so far).
The price for two 1/2 Gallon Jugs will be $68.50 including shipping. That would be $34.25 per 1/2 gallon if you want to split it with a friend.
FYI Vermont Maple Syrup is expensive. In gift shops around here it's $38-39 dollars a half gallon. So thanks to the US post office you're saving yourself a trip to Vermont.
If you look online you will find some places that sell it cheaper. Go for it. But a word about syrup Maple Syrup is legally defined by the sugar content, and the color, not the flavor. Bulk Syrup producers use a process called reverse osmosis to remove water from the Sap before boiling. That's how they make a profit. It works well, if you keep it to about 12% sugar content, and boil the rest. That's what the experts tell me. Some of them boil up to 25% concentrate.
Why does this matter? Well, the syrup we make is boiled from scratch. The typical gallon of 2% sap took about 90 minutes to boil on our 2x6 evaporator. Then filtered, jugged, and packaged. Not commercially made. In small batches, about 5-10 gallons at a time. Last night I sat with my brother Michael and we boiled till after 3am. Try a taste test compared to something you buy. I'd love to hear what you think.
HOW TO: Send me a message on Facebook Messenger saying you want a gallon, with your name and address. Also your email address. Then I will tell you how to PayPal the 68.50. Last year the 11 gallons went in less than 20 minutes. Good luck and thanks for helping justify my hobby.
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All The Best,
Radio Host from age 14 to Present. Currently blogging, planning to launch a new radio show later this year.
Listen to 30 years worth of Twisted Tunes at bobrivers.com
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And please help support small local agriculture and latest money losing hobby by purchasing some of Bob and Lisa’s Vermont Maple Syrup.