March 22, 2009
Peck farm on Blakes Hill Road
Photos courtesy of Joe McCaffrey
To celebrate the Vernal Equinox and the beginning of Spring, NALMC
sponsored a neighborhood potluck on Sunday March 22, 2009. The event
was hosted by Kathryn and Byron Peck at their farm on Blakes Hill Road.
With sap flowing strong and fast, and snowflakes swirling in the air,
nearly 30 people came by to visit, connect with neighbors, and see how
maple syrup is made.
The group collected sap from tapped trees on the property, added it to
the boiling pan, and shared the task of skimming off foam and impurities
as the sap boiled on the wood-fired stove. It was mesmerizing to watch
the sap bubble in the pan as heat and steam did their work, slowly
evaporating most of the liquid to create sweet, dark maple syrup.
NALMC Neighbors enjoyed a variety of potluck goodies including this
unusual treat - hotdogs boiling in maple sap. Everyone also received a
sample jar of Peck's delicious syrup. Many thanks to the Pecks for
their hospitality and their education in making maple syrup.
Another NALMC potluck is planned for the autumn, devoted to making apple cider.
A letter from Dan Sperduto
"It was fun to take part in the NALMC sugaring event at the Peck’s, see some old friends, and new faces from our old neighborhood. Your efforts with NALMC have given me a new source of hope for conservation. What I like about it is that it is more of a neighborhood/bottom-up than a top-down kind of approach. It is so common these days for people to be disconnected with one another despite proximity. I think a lot of good can come from an approach that starts with people, helps to connect them, and builds community and trust. The common land around them pulls it all together. From there, hopefully it will open the doors for people to listen to one another, share information, understand the land around them, and hopefully be better stewards in the end.
I think part of the trick is to not force anyone to manage their land in any particular way, but to educate and inspire them to be good stewards. I think this is possible, even in the context of widely different individual objectives and perspectives. Some of the landowners in the NALMC area, as elsewhere in NH, have an innate distrust of government and for people telling him what to do. At many levels I respect that perspective, although there is also an appropriate place for regulation. The biggest challenges in conservation are probably not matters of regulations and violations, but the need to build understanding and appreciation and respect for the land, and that can not come from laws. I think the partial antidote for distrust of "Big Brother with all the answers" is building community and trust, and focusing on education, persuasion, and listening. People are more likely to be responsive if they are confident that, in the end, how they manage their land is their choice.
Dan Sperduto, Ecologist, March 23, 2009"
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