Monday, March 23, 2009

If We Were Pioneers...

...we'd be syrup-less!

On Saturday we took the ruggies up to an old farm, strapped on some snowshoes and headed out on a maple syrup making tour. I know what you're thinking, Beck has enough of a hard time staying upright in sneakers, why on Earth would we tie tennis rackets to his feet and set out on a mile hike through the woods?! Well he was a trooper, even if Daddy has to carry him at a few points.

We had a great time learning how to identify a sugar maple. When asked how to tell a sugar maple from other trees, Morgan quickly raised her hand and answered "the ones with buckets!". I'm with her, that's the only way I can tell a maple from a pine.

Once we identified a sugar maple (one without a bucket), we got to drill a hole and tap it. It was a perfectly warm day and the sap begun to run immediately and we all got to sample it straight from the tree.

Then we made our way to the sugar house. The sweet smell of the sap boiling was inspiring, so on the way home we purchased a spout and bucket and spent the afternoon hunting down a sugar maple on our property. After all, we have 10 acres, there must be at least one sugar maple, At least one would think.
We settled on what we thought, or rather hoped, was a sugar maple, so we tapped and waited for a drop of sap... nothing. We then decided to try our luck with another tree. Tapped it, hung the bucket and crossed our fingers.

Don't they just look so proud? Oh course, the next morning we took a drive to check out some nearby tapped maples and came to the conclusion that we in fact tapped an oak. Yeah for us.
So we set out sugar maple hunting again and finally I found one that fit the criteria we were taught on our maple tour. This had to be a sugar maple! Hooray! Of course it was also doubling as a fence post in the horses' pasture so we tapped the tree on the side away from the horses (not the south side as we were instructed, but oh well). As soon as the tap was in place sap began to drip. PAY DIRT! Finally we were on the right road to our very own sweet liquid gold!
Unfortunately, it was a short road. Actually, a dead end. I went out to check on our bucket in hopes of it being heavy with sweet maple sap. Sadly, the horses had the same plan. This is what's left of our sap bucket.

Flat. Flat as a syrup-less pancake. Damn horses!
Guess it's back to the Log House pancake syrup flavor high fructose corn syrup for us.


Hilary Marquis said...


Bev said...

Love the pics!! Looks like a fun & informative day. Sorry the sugar monkeys stole your sap!

Btw, as a Vermonter, I'm appalled that you'd ever buy that synthetic molasses crap! Buy a gallon o' the real stuff and call it a day! :D Your pancakes deserve nothin' but the real deal!

Lori said...

Tapping an oak? That's exactly what I'd do...and then I would be very put out to find out it would not cooperate!

The picture of the bucket was hilarious. Sad for no syrup, but hey--going to the Log House is helping the economy.

Good on you!

janiece said...

I'm with Hilary--I can't believe you let danger boy near a hammer!
By the way--seeing all that snow you have to deal with makes me feel better--here I've been complaining about our crappy weather--but it's rain not snow. No more complaining (ok just a little bit!)