They call it Liquid Gold” April is the month to celebrate everything Maple Syrup. April 5th, 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Local Elmira Syrup Festival, and yes it is snowing! In 2000 it set the Guiness World Records for the Largest 1 Day Maple Syrup Festival in the World, with 66, 529 people attending.
I remember going to the Festival with my Grandmother and brother on several occasions when we were young. Oh those pancakes…… slathered with the rich tasty Ontario maple syrup. Memories of walking along the closed off streets and sitting in the sunshine with thousands of people eating lots and lots of pancakes with maple syrup, butter and whipped cream. Often it would be one of the first nice sunny days of the spring.
Or it would be like today, “old man winter” still showing his face with the wind howling and huddling in a tent shivering eating the pancakes you waited an hour for in line. I remember another time going to Elmira with my crazy neighbours, Patrick & Kevin with “My Matt” (pre-kiddlets days) . Lots of giggling while we drove in the snow storm to eat pancakes with those big crowds.
Yesterday I was lunching with my friend Wes and casually mentioned I had been to a Maple Syrup Bush this week, with my daughter’s class. I shared with him I had always wanted to ‘tap my own trees”. Phone in hand, he quickly dialed the nearest Maple Syrup Making Town hardware store in St. Jacob’s. Yes they had some supplies available. It would only take 10 minutes from Waterloo, I was in luck!
I was told by the “sugar shack man” on the class trip the weather had delayed the season and they had just began to make the sryup. He had only made the first batch that day. I was confident there was still hope to tap some trees and hang buckets, perfect weather with cold nights and sunny days.
I always seem to do things last minute. I guess I am not much of a planner. However having purchased them I thought to myself “well I will have them for next year, and I will get a head start next year! I had my eye on those glass leaf shaped bottles. I was already designing my signature label for the bottles. After all I was in the label business and they would make a lovely gift!
Here are my sugar bush tips from my class visit. Sap runs from Sugar, Red, Silver Maple Trees (and maybe some other ones), but not Pine trees. I joked with my friend that we have a lot of Pine’s in the back. He kind of stared at me, and said “you know you cannot tap Pine Trees?” Depending on the diameter of the tree you can hang, 1, 2, 3 or more buckets. It is best to check and collect buckets daily. This Mom knows this fact from her rope game the kids played with the trees this past week.
Speaking of Mom’s I spoke with my Mother today and was all excited to tell her I had a pail for my Dad to put on their Maple. She quickly responded “Not on my Tree!”. Need I say more. Maybe she will warm up to the fact when she sees the bucket. After all shouldn’t everyone put tapping a maple tree on their “Bucket List”.
Sryup is made from boiling off the water and it turns to sugar. My friend suggested I not boil my syrup in the house , he shared his childhood memories of the wall paper peeling off the walls from all the steam. The house lingering with a sugar smell and messy syrup everywhere. Ok, I would boil my syrup outside on the barbeque burner. I already had a vision of the kids playing nicely, the sun shining and getting ready to treat the kids to the maple taffy on the snow (just like at the maple sugar bush this week.) Oh what a Mom I am, creating all these great memories, what are they going to think. Definitely it will be a photo opportunity.
Ok so I purchased the supplies, listened to my friends tips, read some more literature and listened to my husband’s manly advice of his video watching in the morning. I had a good idea what I was doing, since I saw “first hand” their demonstration in the cold, wet muddy bush. Bundled up I took my buckets, drill, spiles, hammer, and lids out the trees, waving goodbye to my proud daughter Meaghan giving me a “thumbs up”, and a big smile saying she would see the syrup when she got home later. Dad was taking them to the movies today and out for the day.
Drill….drill…..drill… yep ok I remembered to put the drill on an upward motion – done. MMM… the video said syrup would flow. Nothing, no “liquid gold” flowing. I tapped some more trees, same thing no liquid. I decided to attach the spiles and the buckets (easy peazy) and play the wait and see game. “Maple trees why are you not flowing with your liquid gold?” Did I miss a step? Where they Maple trees. We live in a farm community and I am a “wanna be kinda of farmer”. Every year I try to grow pumpkins and well, that is another story. I am just waiting for my neighbours to drive by and shake their heads at us again.
Since I am cold and kind of cranky with not seeing instant results I going to take advantage of this quiet time in the house, make a couple pancakes and you guessed it, put on some of the maple syrup I purchased this week. Perhaps a coffee would be the perfect compliment to my brunch.
Enjoy the Day! If you are not sure about doing something new, “Just DO IT!”, (like the Nike Ad). I am looking at my buckets and they look rather festive and who knows it might take a few minutes (or hours, days) to get things flowing! I will keep you updated.
(My New Update) – Just found 1/4 full of sap in my bucket! (WOOT – WOOT) ….. Thanks Wes for having faith in me, and telling me to “check the buckets today – you will have some”. He said it was too cold for it to flow yesterday and I will have some today at 1 or 2 in afternoon! Now What is a girl to do with the sap? That is another story.
REMEMBER JUST GO WITH THE FLOW!
Talk soon ~