Along with snowdrops, robins, and red-winged blackbirds, the sight of sap buckets hanging from maple trees is one of our surest signs that spring is finally on its way back to Vermont. Most of the larger operations have switched to using plastic tubing and gravity to get the sap to the sugar house, so sap buckets are a bit rarer these days. Selfishly, I'm thankful there are still those who stick with the traditional methods of collecting and transporting sap, as for me these buckets are... I dunno. There's something about seeing them that just says "home" to me.