For those of you who receive federal benefit checks, such as Social Security, veterans' benefits and the like, remember that as of March 1 you will no longer be able to receive these checks through the US Post Office. You must now receive your benefits electronically either by direct deposit to your bank/credit union or to a prepaid debit card.
Information on how to do this is available either online at www.godirect.gov or through your bank/credit union.
It may be early for our young folks to start thinking about prom dresses, but the Bethel Area District Exchange just received a shipment of hardly-worn fashionable prom dresses from New York and New Jersey. Stop in and get the best selection now and save a huge amount of money. (See the Community Calendar page of this paper for hours of operation.)
A big thank you goes out to Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet. He gave a free reading of his poetry to area residents last Friday evening at Gould Academy. It was a full house, and he received several standing ovations. They were well deserved. His writing is capable of touching the hearts of all.
The sap started running last week at The Dunham Farm. While it seems a bit early, this is about the same time sap started running last year. Around here it is the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) that produces sap. I know other parts of the country both the red maple and black maple are also tapped for sap but produce a different quality and sweetness of sap.
Sugar maples store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter.
The starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap when nights are below freezing and days are above freezing. If the weather does not follow this temperature pattern, the sap ceases to follow until the freeze/thaw cycle returns. The sap collecting season lasts about four-to-six weeks.
There is no official source of how humans came to use maple sap to make syrup. The Wabanakis, the Native Americans of this region, made this syrup. How they came about doing this may be associated with squirrel behavior. Zoologist and naturalist Bernd Heinrich (and others) states that squirrels bite the branches of maples, run off to bite more branches, and then circle back a few minutes later to lap the sap that has begun to flow from their first bite marks. Heinrich
discusses this in his book, A Year in the Maine Woods. It is a very good look at western Maine natural history through the seasons.
You can send news to firstname.lastname@example.org