Who can resist a stroll through the maple woods in the spring sunshine to see how the maple sap is collected and learn about the process that turns it into maple syrup?
I joined OlderSon and Callum, and YoungerSon and The Bride for a spring adventure.
But first, we needed some sustenance to provide energy for our walk through the woods, so the first stop was at the pancake restaurant. Mmmmm ... pancakes and sausages with butter and Maple Syrup! You can't get a much more Canadian breakfast than that! The Breakfast of lumberjacks.
Callum made short work of his sausages, he's a good eater!
And then a stroll through the sugarbush. The sap is collected in the spring, and the weather conditions have to be just right.... cool nights and warm sunny days.
The maple tree is tapped and a spile is inserted into the hole in the trunk, and a bucket hung to collect the sap that drips out. But that's the traditional way to collect the sap. Behind the bucket you can see green plastic piping that is hung from tree to tree and the sap is suctioned through the lines by a central vacuum pump.
The First Nations people made maple syrup by heating stones in the fire and putting the hot stones in a hollowed out log filled with sap. It was their only form of sugar, and it was used as a flavouring and to tenderise meat.
But when metal cooking pots became available, the process of evaporating the sap became a lot faster.
Samples of finished syrup for tasting. So syrupy and sweet. Let it run across your teeth and rest on your tongue... there's no taste quite like it! Calories? Who cares!
Then a stop at the sugarshack. The modern method of sugaring off... a big gas fired boiler that evaporates the sap. When the temperature of the syrup reaches 103C it's ready. OlderSon has tapped the maple trees on his property this spring, and has made his own maple syrup, so he was interested in talking maple syrup talk to the man in charge.
And the finished product for sale in the shop.