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I drove to a lawn-mowing job, got turned around, and reached behind the pick-up seat for my ear-muffs. Not there. I cannot mow without them; years of driving tractors and moving wood beside a running chainsaw have left my ears sensitive to noise. I searched the truck for ear plugs. Lots of change, tools, fireman’s gear. No luck. Last resort, Daniel’s logging helmet. 95 degrees, high humidity. I mowed the large, hilly lawn, and never looked up at the passers-by, feeling as foolish as I looked. I’m getting too old to fuss about my appearance, but this was over the top.

Thinking about appearances, sometimes so deceptive. Beautiful, fragrant white blossoms…wild cucumber, chervil, goutweed. Invasive, tenacious, dominant, threatening, smothering all vegetation in its vicinity, are the descriptives for these sometimes attractive plants. Vermonters dig, pull and throw into the road, cover with black plastic, and meet with neighbors and experts, trying to give the land back to native, productive species.

Appearances…my youngest daughter, Laura, has the same love for farming as I do. Slight, slender, fine, would describe her frame. Determined, persistent, and no-quitter would more aptly qualify her as she milks the Holstein cows and ably moves them where she pleases.

“100% Pure Natural Syrup” read the label on a little bottle, alongside an attractive picture of a man gathering sap. The bottle was filled with a clear, amber liquid, served at a restaurant with my pancakes. All appearances indicated maple syrup, by the looks a nice Grade A Medium. Then, I read the small print. “55% Pure Maple Syrup* 45% Cane Syrup”. What a disappointment. Nothing but the best, 100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup, will suffice for this sugarmaker! Silloway Maple syrup is produced according to the highest standards in the maple industry, for density, clarity, color, and flavor. With pride, from our trees to your table, for three generations. Our syrup is just as it appears, delicious, pure, and always the highest quality.

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