Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Sweet Visit

For Channukah Dave's parents gave Sam a coupon book. One of the coupons was for a trip to the Sugar Bush (where maple syrup is made) and Sam went with them at the beginning of March. Ever since he has talked about going back and this past Saturday we went with my mom and dad. It was a really fun, although slightly chilly, visit.

The neat thing about this sugar bush is that you take a horse drawn carriage out to the farm. Sam was all about telling the driver where to turn "because I know where we are going!" It totally made me laugh because he was so proud about knowing how everything worked. It was about a twenty minute ride to get to he bush and very fun. It made me want to get a horse and always travel by horse drawn carriage because it really forces you to slow down and enjoy the ride. But then I remembered we'd have to feed and stable the horse. There goes that dream!

When we got to the sugar bush we first got a ride through the actual bush so we could see all the trees and the lines gathering sap. Then we got a tour with a history of how maple syrup has been processed throughout the years. It was very interesting.
When you taste the sap as it comes out of the tree it mostly tastes like water. That's because it is only 2% sugar. It takes 40 units of sap to make one unit of maple syrup. That's a lot of sap.
My dad is standing beside the a tree displaying the present day method of getting sap from trees -- a plastic stile (I knew that word from Catching Fire, the second book of The Huger Games!) which is connected to the blue tubing. The sap then flows through the tubing to the holding tanks. This particular farm has about 2400 stiles this year and 16 kilometres (almost 10 miles) of tubing.
Rachel didn't want to walk and enjoyed the vantage point from Dave's shoulders. Plus it allowed her to get up close and personal with the horses.
Then we saw how First Nations' people would have made syrup. The sap was collected in these wooden troughs and then hot rocks from the fire were dropped into the sap. After doing this continuously for three days they would have maple syrup.
Early pioneers would collect the sap in buckets and then have it not-quite-boiling in pots over a fire. After about a day of continuously cooking it, they would get maple syrup.
Today the sap flows into these huge storage containers (on the left) and the gets processed in the big machine (on the right). I forget how long the whole process takes but I think it's just a couple of hours.
After the tour we got to enjoy pancakes with fresh maple syrup. Rachel was impatient as well as insistent that she could do it herself! She ate almost a whole pancake, which was more than I ate!
Sam and Rachel enjoyed playing on the tractor and didn't even push each other off.
Sam did not want to pose with Dave and Rachel by the horses but I got him in the picture anyways. Meanwhile Rachel enjoyed another look at the horses. Looking at the pictures now I can only imagine how big they must have seemed to her.
I also convinced my parents to pose next to the horses! On the way home, Sam was talking again about how he knew the way to go and the driver invited him to sit up front in the driver's seat. Sam LOVED that! Sadly, the pictures are a little blurry because another thing traveling by horse and carriage is the lack of good shocks. Or suspension. Or whatever it is that makes cars non-bouncy.
We had a really great time doing this tour and are seriously considering going back for their summer farm tour. I think it would be a lot of fun!


  1. Haha look how educational Hunger Games ended up being!! :) Looks like a fun place!

  2. Did you know the Elmira maple syrup festival was last weekend? I wanted to go but was too busy. Where was your sugarbush?

  3. That looks like so much fun!!!!

    1. It was a lot of fun. My only complaint was that it was really cold but that has been the story of our Spring thus far :)

  4. Is it weird that I thought of the Hunger Games reference before I even read that part? Haha! Great minds, right? I love educational history trips like this. Plus, I would love me some pancakes and maple syrup right about now. *Sigh* Thanks for the craving, missy!


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