Monday, March 21, 2011

Maple Sugaring

When I was in elementary school, I remember loving the books Miracle on Maple Hill and whichever Laura Ingalls Wilder edition that tells about the kids making maple candy by pouring fresh syrup into shapes on a pan of snow. It has been on my bucket list (pun just realized) ever since then to experience the thrill of maple sugaring for myself. And now our family is blessed to live in the ONLY region on earth to have the particular tree variety and weather that allows maple sugaring to happen. About a week ago we visited our local farmpark to see how the process works.
First, pound a hollow nail into the trunk of a maple tree (or a stand of maple trees, as the case may be as in the photo above). Then, drape a bucket over the nail. When the weather gets to that days have melting snow, but nights drop back below freezing again, then the sap will run.

It comes out of the tree as a clear, thin liquid. It looks just like water.

This liquid then gets boiled down to a thicker syrup. Pictured above is a "backyard" type of boiling process, but we also saw a larger, more industrial vat as well.

We got to ride the tracter-pulled wagon which that Lo loved. He smiled and waved to it as it pulled up.

It also happened to be a big quilt show that weekend, and this was our favorite one.

Don't the horses look just like that quilt? This horse-drawn wagon is the alternative to the tractor-pulled cart we were in. Lo seems to enjoy the tractors more than the horses. Which I do not understand myself, but whatever.

This was our last visit to the farmpark before our membership expired. Sad. But we will probably still go a few times in the upcoming year as a couple other families we know have memberships with guest passes. Let the mooching begin!

The horses in this video were pulling a load of freshly gathered sap.


Jocelyn said...

What fun I want to go maple sugaring too!

Valerie said...

what a fun post; glad you were able to experience this unique aspect of northeast America!