photo of sugar shack in maine made from reclaimed lumber

Spring in Maine: Snow, Mud & Maple Syrup

Summer in Maine is gorgeous. Rousseau Reclaimed is located in South Portland, near the Scarborough line, and sometimes there’s a nice salt breeze drifting over from Smuggler’s Cove in Cape Elizabeth. The kiln is in the yard outside the shop, along with the sawmill, a salvaged antique workbench and tidy stacks of lumber. The Amtrak Downeaster roars by, loaded with vacationers. The sky is blue and it’s not too hot. Perfect, really.

Winter in Maine? Also gorgeous. The weather is crazy cold and snowy, most winters. The Downeaster still roars by, not as often, and with fewer golfers aboard. But the kiln is still outside, and the sawmill and the salvaged work bench and the tidy stacks of timbers. The crew works summer or winter, spring or fall., whether under layers of wool, down, fleece and ripstop nylon, or t-shirts and shorts.

And as you can see from these photos, spring in Maine is a lot like winter, weather-wise. But spring in Maine means one thing: maple syrup. And mud. Okay, two things: maple syrup, and mud. A regular customer, a resident of Portland’s Outer Forest neighborhood, taps the trees in his yard and makes syrup himself. This week Emmett and Matteo assembled a sugar shack for the Portland customer. A sugar shack is a tiny structure that contains the equipment necessary to turn sap into syrup. The frame for this unique, custom job went up fast. The timbers and the windows are from a barn that John and his crew salvaged last summer in Grovesville. For more photos of the sugar shack, check out our Instagram feed here.

Next week the crew’s primary focus will be an antique ash floor for a residential customer in Southern Maine. Stay tuned for start-to-finish photos.

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