When the sap has been collected and the evaporators are at work, there might be a lull where you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Pat down some of that melty, crystalline snow you find in Spring. We used a garbage can lid, but you can do this on a cookie sheet if you want to try it at home!
Gather some sticks.
Boil the syrup until it reaches the soft-ball stage (it clings into a little ball when dripped into a glass of cold water). Pour it in strips across the snow, then let it sit for a minute. Before it hardens completely, take your stick and squish it into one end of the maple strip...now roooollll the strip up onto your stick! (Check out Jude's look of anticipation!)
Pass quickly to the nearest child. Ignore the warnings that the tooth fairy is whispering in your ear about your child's dental health. Making maple taffy outside is the clearest memory I have of my childhood visits to a sugar shack.
Gooey, sticky, sweetness dabbed with bits of ice and snow...incomparable and unforgettable!