Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sugar camp

This is the season that the sap is running and in the next county over they were providing an incredible opportunity to experience how to make Maple Syrup the old fashion way. We went with other homeschool families and learned how to tap the trees, collect the sap and boil it into syrup. The guides were very wonderful and gave thorough explanations for the children. We  learned that if you tap the side of the tree in the shade there won't be much sap running because that side of the tree is not warm enough. But if you tap the side with the sun by morning you'll have a bucket full of refreshing sugar water. It tasted so delicious. The guides also taught how to make a wooden spile by using a sumac branch. Then they demonstrated drilling the tree and placing the stile (wooden straw) into the tree. We helped collect the sap from the trees they had tapped the day before and carried it to the kettles to boil over the open flame. We also learned how the Native Americans would return to the maple tree area every spring to collect the sap and make sugar discs by boiling the sap until it became grainy. Then they would place the grainy mixture in a mold of a nut shell and let it dry to become discs, a portable way to carry around. We learned so much and couldn't have asked for better weather. 

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