Here's the Scoop by Brian Sweeney

Brian Sweeney has been the author of “Here’s the Scoop” for more than 20 years. The column usually deals with the lighter side of life and the writer has been known to mix a bit of fiction in with the facts. Brian has received six awards for his column in the annual New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

Here's the scoop: March 27, 2013

Just like old times
Unfortunately, I am banned this week from using a three-letter work that begins with “s.” Since I can’t write about the raw material from which maple syrup is made, I have been hard-pressed to think of another topic. My brain is kind of sapped (six letters), I guess.


Here's the scoop: March 19, 2013

Syrup: The Final Frontier
It would have been unfair to leave readers hanging regarding our first venture into the world of maple syrup production. So, today we reach the boiling point.

But not that fast. These things take time. Lots and lots of mind-numbing time.
Anyone with sensitivity to the cold realizes it has been pretty darn chilly lately. Especially when you’re outside. Even sitting next to a fire. Being rookies in the maple-making world, a sap house is not in the plans. Yet.


Here's the Scoop: March 13, 2013

Reaching the boiling point
I’m not sure how long my Lord of the Sugar Maple Rings series will continue, but I plan on squeezing out every last drop.

You may recall that in earlier installments of my maple syrup making adventure, I began chronicling the anticipation of my family’s initial sap-to-syrup experience. The truth is, you can’t rush these things; thus the unusual multi-column format I’m employing to tell this tale.


Here's the Scoop: March 6, 2013

Stay out of the woods
The response to last week’s column about my wife and me getting set to dip our toes into the sweet realm of backyard maple sugar production was a bit overwhelming.

You could say that folks came “out of the woodwork” with suggestions and really scary stories about the perils of the pursuit of maple syrup. It’s always nice to get some free advice.
Insights, of course, are about the only thing that’s “free” when it comes to syrup production. Nearly everyone I spoke to started off the conversation with the question, “Do you have…?”


Here's the Scoop: February 27, 2013

Stepping back in time
It’s been many years since I last took an active role in producing a bit of Catskill Mountain maple syrup, but I’m getting ready to give it another crack.

My first experience with syrup production occurred when I was quite small. One neighborhood family used to tap the series of sturdy maples that lined our street. Four large trees in front of our house were part of the supply, so the local kids helped with the task.