05 April 2011

Visit to a Sugar Shack

We have a friend that lives at the historical Van Raalte Farm and works for the Degraaf Nature Center. The property is home to many Sugar Maple trees and houses a sugar shack. We got to check it all out! Kaia is a maple sugar lover and was really excited to find out how it was made.
It was beautiful out, possibly the warmest day we've had yet this year. Joyful in her coatlessness, Kaia ran down the woods trail and stared into the pails collecting sap. The sudden warmth meant that the sap was practically pouring out, (Okay, it was dripping pretty fast,) and Kaia let it drip onto her finger and tasted the sap straight from the tapped tree.
She visited the largest Sugar Maple on the farm and stared up into its branches in amazement.
We went to see the sugar shack, where sap was on the boil.
Up the stairs near the roof, our friend showed Kaia the big collection tank full of sap where all the pails are emptied.
Inside, the sap was boiling away, turning brown and starting to look like maple syrup, mmmmm! Steamed poured up to the roof and out into the pale blue sky.
Kaia was treated to a maple sugar candy, which disappeared very fast!
Afterward, we walked through the woods, enjoying the warming weather, the green shoots beginning to find their way to the surface, sunshine on our faces, and generally poking about.
Kaia checked to see if the water was warm yet, but decided she had better wait to go swimming and instead spent her time tossing in sand and sticks to watch being whisked away.
Oh, Spring, won't you come on a bit faster?

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