Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Visit to the Sugar Shack

Yesterday the kids and I headed into the deep countryside to visit a maple sugar shack.

I've read about maple sugaring to the kids, but there's nothing like seeing the real thing for yourself. Here's what sap collection looked like for several hundred years:

Modern collection is much less asthetic. It involves miles and miles of plastic tubing intertwined through the sugar bush, picking up sap from each of the maple trees as it winds its way toward the "sap ladder" and the holding tank:

Tanks outside the sugar shack fed the sap through a reverse osmosis machine to remove as much water as possible and then dropped the concentrated sap into the evaporator, which in modern times is fueled by diesel, not wood.

Everything is now mechanized and automated! When the proper temperature is reached at the front of the evaporator, the syrup pours into a holding tank, ready for filtration and bottling.

The smell of maple penetrated the shed and made me feel as if I was transported for an hour to Vermont and my childhood memories of visiting sugar shacks. Back then it was boiled in an open evaporator fueled by wood, and the syrup was tested by hand to determine it's readiness.

We had a delightful time talking with the owners and helper. So far this year the sugarbush has produced 900 gallons of pure maple syrup. Last year they produced only 500 gallons total. I guess it's a good year!

We came home with some maple cream and some dark amber syrup and some great memories!


Heather said...

It looks like you had a wonderful day - and it sounds like the weather is just right for a good run in your area! Don't you wish a good season meant lower syrup prices - but it never does! I grew up visiting sugar shacks every spring but it's been a while since we visited one with the children - of course the sugaring off season is much later in Ontario, so it's often over here by the time I think about it. Maybe I'm not too late this year!

Lovella ♥ said...

I thought here of how we all like to envision how food comes to our table the old fashioned way. We like to think that the syrup just drips into a pail . .with snow all about. I've never seen a sugar shack but we are never without Canadian Maple Syrup in our refrigerator. What a great field trip.

Ruth MacC said...

Hi Heather, that looks like something I would love to do with my family.
I was hopeing you would pray for me. It looks like my mum may be dying. She is very old and has been suffering from MS for almost fifty years. She is in hospital with a chest infection and pneumonia. She is concious, unable to talk but able to communicate. (she hasn't been able to move for years) She has asked the doctors and family not to treat her with antibiotics or to be resuscitate (she was resuscitated in the ambulance on the way to the hospital on Wednesday. She wants to die. She is not eating, drinking or on the drip. She says she is a christian but I am not 100% sure...

I have nine brothers and sisters and I am the only one saved. I am in a lot of contact with them now in the hospital and feel, well... I am afraid I may let the Lord down in some way, in my conversation etc.

It's tough Heather because for years I have not been allowed to have much contact with her and absolutely no spiritual conversation has been allowed, although today I had the chance to sing christian hyms to her :0)

Will you please bring this need to your church for pray or to friends? I would very much appreciate it. I feel a bit worn out and down but I am close to God and I know I am in His hands. I lost my dad to cancer 3 years ago but God assured me that He saved him. This time I feel He is teaching me a lesson in faith, He is growing me!

Many many thanks Heather. I am so glad that I feel I can bring this to you. May God continue to bless you dear sister.

Ruth MacC said...

Thanks for your encouragement Heather. There is NOTHING like scripture to help. I am feeling a little better this morning. God continue to bless.