Beside all of the usual signs of spring (warm days, cool nights, mud, the snow melting away revealing the junk I “accidentally” left out in the yard), one commonplace phenomenon this time of year is the collection of sap for maple syrup. The pails, buckets, taps, collection hoses, and basins are all over the place around here. The local papers cover things like the maple syrup competitions in area schools.
We like to take part in all of this by going to Saturday morning breakfast at a very rustic restaurant/sugar house where the tables are made from thick slabs of wood, the syrup is made on the premisis, and the pancakes are almost as big as your head.
It’s kind of amazing to see the wide range of equipment used in the collection process. You have your traditional galvanized buckets, plastic pails, huge washtubs covered with plywood, gigantic plastic collection basins…and on it goes. It all reminds me of the New England (this probably fits for all rural areas) tradition of making do with what you have or what you’ve found: wooden pyramids constructed to protect shrubbery from heavy winter snows, bright blue plastic juice drums converted to driveway sand and salt containers, car tires painted white and turned into front yard flower beds.
This stuff also reminds me of some of the music and instruments used on the experimental music collection Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones. Yes, long before Blue Man Group got the (excellent) idea of pressing PVC pipes into service, there were musicians making good with objects like the bamboo saxophone, rainsticks, chunks of metal, bicycle wheels, glass jars and other oddities.
The music on this CD runs from the moderately serious—Don Buchla and Robert Moog playing the Buchla 400, Harry Partch playing the “Harmonic Canon”—to the just plain weird: Hans Reichel playing the Daxophone, a wooden instrument that has a both beautiful and unnerving human vocal quality.
Spring, maple syrup, and musical instruments. As a good friend of mine likes to say, “It’s a big ‘ole world out there”.Powered by Sidelines