This picture is the road leading up to the present day Von Trapp farm on Waitsfield Common. The snow was plowed with a mechanical giant on tracks with a V plow and wings to push the snow back, hence the near vertical snow banks separating us from the sap buckets. My brother Dick, Howard Corliss and Alan Richardson would gather the sap, removing the ice from the buckets (ensuring your hands were always wet and cold) and climb back down to dump the sap into the holding tank pulled by our horses Tom and Jerry.
Our day would start early with chores of cleaning, watering and feeding in the barn and then to the house for breakfast and then off to gather sap which was a great cash crop for the farm and very important for our family income. Lunch was often delivered to the sugarhouse where we boiled eggs in the sap and had a quick lunch before returning to our gathering duties. This was not just for sunny days and we worked in cold rain, snow and I remember well breaking through the crust with each step while trying not to spill the precious sap before we delivered to the dray.
And just when darkness approached and hopefully the day was finished, we would remember we had to do the barn chores. A quick supper and then back to the barn for all the all too familiar cleaning, watering and feeding and finally the end of the day. When we finally entered the house, our mother would look at us and say “what about your homework.” This has often made me wonder if this was the reason I never became a scholar.
By Dave Jamieson, Broker