Years ago, Mother left her very unsure oldest daughter in charge of making lunch with a detailed description on the proper way to cook peas, ending with “be sure to go easy on the salt..” So you can bet I did.. I served them with fear and trepidation.. And asked my family what they thought.. Father’s comment was.. “Well these taste like they are from a neighboring county.. Bland County..” Lol We all laughed at that.. Pass the salt, please..
Last Wed, I thought of that a lot, as I had opportunity to visit that neighboring county.. I had a day trip to a sugar camp. What a great experience! I enjoyed the entire process from the sitting in the cabin, eating fresh pancakes covered with maple syrup, tasting the maple sugar, drinking coffee with maple syrup.. To entering the sugar shack..
That was incredible.. The sap was kept in an old bulk tank outside and entered the building to a warming tank.. From there it went to a trough where it was thoroughly heated and the impurities were constantly being lifted off.. Eventually it went to the final trough were the boiling continued.. The air was filled with steam and wood smoke, and it had such a delightful sweet scent to it.. I could’ve just stood there sniffing for hours.. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one of syrup, so all that water has been evaporated off.. It was interesting to observe that the boiling point was a different temperature due to the altitude of this “neighboring county”.. Once the syrup has been boiled down to a certain point, it is ran thru a filter, and put on a gas burner where it is heated to “red line” and then packaged away for the next pancake supper..
Sap only runs during warmer days, so we waited until afternoon to check the trees.. That was a fun muddy experience.. My decision to buy rubber mats for my van was again reaffirmed.. And yes, Somehow I did get stuck.. March Mud.. It was really good to be out enjoying the sunshine, stomping over the hills and fording streams, visiting maple trees that had been tapped, emptying the 5 gallon buckets of clear, slightly sweet liquid into the transport buckets and carrying them back to the big tanks to return to camp.. What a splendid day! Beautiful Spring time!
My travel companions were a group of young people this time, and I enjoyed watching their energy.. They split wood for hours, trekked happily through the woods on a tour, made short work out of collecting the sap, pushed my van out by hand, and put in a 20 hour travel day like it was nothing .. “And Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..” Col 3:23
And so, I smiled as I drove in Paradise Lane, with my fresh bottle of syrup.. My heart is full.. What an educational, enjoyable day..
This was something very unusual that I wish someone would have an explanation for.. It was ice crystals growing out of the ground.. Someone described them as looking like mushrooms.. Someone else said stalagmites, But it was big patches of 2-3 inch tall little ice columns coming up out of the ground.. Creation is Marvelous!!
Note from Head of Ranch Security: You sure can’t get good help these days.. This is getting ridiculous.. I finally about have that worthless Rolo trained to being a half decent assistant, Then Julia shows up with the boyfriend, ends up marrying him, AND brings in this worthless little rug rat to the barn everyday.. Ok, so she is kinda cute, and may have a little potential.. But a German Shepherd?! And she has SO much energy.. And I can tell that she’s trying upstage me.. I’m just not convinced.. Will report later.. As always -Detroit
From the editor: Introducing: Kaleela Ivy or Kalila Margarete (not sure which)