Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Sure Sign of Spring.

Today we went to a Maple Syruping class offered at a local nature center. We have been scoping out their special homeschooling programs for a while now, but A is only recently old enough to attend. He was very excited!

We had a nice time. G and I were able to tag along, so we did - as did many parents with little ones. We started inside - learning about the types of trees, sap, sugar content, farming, production, and history. From there we went outside and went on a long walk through the woods. The kids learned how to identify trees, tasted sap, looked at the different equipment and techniques in place from tree to tree, and then walked back to another area for more fun. A was able to drill a tree, gauge temperature, see a sap pan boiling over the coals, and carry a yoke with pails to realize some more of the work involved!

While it was cold (30s) and windy, the sun was shining and we were SO happy to be outside for a few hours. The slush was so deep and rutted on the trail we all got quite a workout walking today! The boys were exhausted afterwards - happy and tired.

Maple trees running sap - a sure sign of spring!


Lizz said...

How fun! Those slushy trails mean it is time for sugaring. We'll have to dig out our book Suagring Time.

Tara said...

This is such a good way to welcome Spring!
I love the pic of your boy toting the pails!
Did they pour the hot syrup onto snow for maple candy?

Lisa Anne said...

Yea! Its sugaring time here, too. The title picture on my blog, is a picture of our sugar house. We are just learning how to do the process (its a bit daunting for 2 people),But we have the most beautiful equipment I have ever seen, Its big enough to do quite a large production although I think the previous people here never did more than 30 gallons.
I love the picture of your boy hauling sap, he can come over and help next year! Although we hope to have draft Mules by then to do most of the heavy work.

dawn klinge said...

I always have loved reading about making maple syrup in *Little House in th Big Woods*, and I love to eat the stuff, but I've never seen it made before. Your pictures are so much fun. What a great thing for your boys to experience.

FiveGreenAcres said...

We were JUST talking about maple syrup tapping last night. Thanks for posting this - it prompted me to check out a nature center near me to see what programs they have. And sure enough - one coming up soon about maple syrup.
We're not sure how many maples we have here, but that would be very, very useful if we could supplement even a bit of our syrup consumption with homemade syrup. We sure go through a LOT. :)

Anonymous said...

mmmmmm....maple syrup! It looks like you all had fun and learned a lot!

amanda said...

What a fun day!

Maria said...

Oh, wow. You're right Spring IS coming!! But all in all, I thought this was a pretty "sappy" post.

Sorry. could NOT resist.

World Wide Alternative said...

Hey! I was just about to say, "Just like in 'Little House In The Big Woods' but Dawn beat me too it! Xxx

piscesgrrl said...

Aw this post has me all wistful... I have those same photos, just insert my kids! For many years we did an annual field trip to a nature center just down the road. I'd arrange for us to go with a small group and Dave, who secretly let us in even though he was funded by the public school system, led us on a sap-gathering adventure. Then we'd taste some boiling sap and take home bottles to try on cornbread and pancakes.

The state cut their funding though, so no more program. How terribly sad I was. And those poor school kids, who so enjoyed their nature adventures with Dave who was so incredibly gifted. It's a shame.

Glad you got to go! We'll have to find another spot, though truth be told, after many years of it, my kids were apt to say, "Maple Syrup trip? AGAIN??" :) I think I enjoyed it the most!