Dear Curiosity Journal,

Back beneath the boughs of the Sugar Maples, Rufus and I continue to prepare for the sap run. We replace tubing that the squirrels have chomped, branches have busted, and time has torn down. We wash tanks, rinse lines, check connections, rewire the main channel, and carry out the age-old task of collecting wood. The numerous climbs up and down the steep Driftless slopes are compounded by the soft ground sliding beneath our boots. I try to calculate how much energy my body expends each time I have to catch myself from crashing down the hill and how much I have left to give for the day. Rufus and I agree that we’re a bit out of shape, recognizing how much our bodies change over the seasons, and joking that there’s nothing like running the Driftless hills to get us fit for the farming season.