Making maple syrup is a North Country tradition and an important cottage industry in our region. As I sit down to write this article, it's the middle of March; prime time for northern New York maple syrup production. These are the weeks of sap flow, when the sugar maples break dormancy and local syrup producers, having tapped thousands of trees, harvest their reward and boil it down with pride and care, turning out gallon after gallon of delicious pure maple syrup, as well as pure maple candy, scrumptious maple cream and delightful maple sugar. Steam is wafting from sugarhouses operating at full production and the sweet smell of boiling maple sap is in the air. At least that's the way it should be.