Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Maple Sugaring

Last week Pam shared lovely posts - here and here - after her visit to Kings Landing Historic Settlement.  As you will see in Pam's post there was a maple sugaring taking place.


I found it fascinating to see Pam's pictures.  It was so fascinating for three reasons, I have long been interested in this activity, because I love to eat maple syrup, and because the picture on my calendar this month is a depiction of a maple sugaring event.


You can see that the sap has been gathered in buckets from the trees, and is then boiled over the fire in a very big pot until the sap turns into syrup.  Then you can take the syrup and pour it in pretty shapes into a barrel of snow and that gives you maple candy to eat.


My fascination with maple sugaring started may years ago when I first read Little House in the Big Woods.


Fans of the book will recognise these images.  Below you can see Laura and Mary making their own candy in pans of snow.  They were not using maple syrup for this, but a mixture of boiled molasses and sugar.  This candy was to be kept for Christmas.


A little later in the book you read about how Laura's Grandpa has been preparing all winter to collect the maple syrup by making troughs and buckets to collect the syrup in.  There is a wonderful description of how the troughs are put into the tree and then left to allow the sap to pour into the buckets as the weather gets warmer and the sap starts to rise in the tree.


Pa then explains to Laura how the sap is boiled to make the syrup.  There had been great excitement in the story because there had been a sugar snow.  This meant that it had snowed and therefore the weather cooled down.  Because of this the sap would run for longer, meaning more maple syrup!


There was then a great dance to celebrate the sugar snow and the syrup and sugar that could be made.  At the end of the dance Laura and Mary got to make some maple candy of their own in pans of snow.

I don't know when I first read this book, but I remember the story so well all these years later.

So when I saw Pam's posts I found them so interesting and they bought back good memories of reading Laura's story.

It is funny when things combine like that isn't it - the posts from Pam, my calendar picture and my memories!

Amy

44 comments:

  1. I don't recall reading about this before. What a clever use of nature. Xx

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  2. Fascinating !! I know maple sugar, use it, but have never realized how it is made since in Belgium it is imported from abroad... So much fun to read about its origins via a childrens book and a calendar (way better than wikipedia ;-) !)

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  3. I saw the that storyline on the TV version of Little House on the Prairie a while ago. Love the calendar.

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  5. What a fascinating subject, I read the Laura Inglass Wilder books last year, the grown up books there are photos in the books of there lifestyle too, it got me interested in reading more about the pioneers, I would love to grow a maple tree :-)

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    1. After a bit of research I now have 3 Sugar Maple trees winging there way to me, I shall tell my husband its your fault for tempting me :-)

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  6. What a lovely post, Amy, and I really like your calendar. The little red house is typical of the original houses in Quebec, red so they could be found in the snow. I love the whole Maple sugar story too, and hope to visit another maple farm when we visit Canada soon. The modern plantations have hoses going from tree to tree and it is collected in an industrial way. Not nearly as romantic! I love the idea of making the taffy in the snow, too :)

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    1. Industrial Maple farm are for tourists or for big production ! but we are more and more families that use the traditionnal way to make our syrup each year.
      You just have to visit little country roads or Streets to see it. You are welcome!!!
      And the season began this week...
      Miss

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  7. Very interesting, but I can't remember reading the books. Maybe they weren't the in thing in my era. I also like maple syrup and think your coincidence's are something else. Funny how things like that happen. Take care.

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  8. I read Soulemama's blog, and they always make maple syrup. Like you, I find it fascinating, especially that the tree produces so much sap in such cold conditions. It's quite incredible. The book looks really interesting as well, I've never read any Laura Ingalls Wilder, but so many people enjoy her writing, I must look out for it. CJ xx

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  9. I've only recently read Laura Ingalls Wilder's books so I remember the part about the sugar snow well. Really interesting.

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  10. Never knew the stuff came from a tree

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  11. I remember that book from my childhood! It is always interesting to me when things come to make you think of something from several different and unrelated places. I always figure there is something in that I need to pay attention to. ;) blessings ~ tanna

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  12. So good to read from other people about maple syrup.
    As i live in Québec area, We make our syrup every year, and it is always a celebration.
    From now, it is the perfect time to make syrup, because it needs to be very cold during the night and warm during the day.
    the maple candy on the snow is cold here " tire" and kids are cray with that, but you have to boil the syrup until it turns to caramel!
    Well, making our own syrup is so great!! and we do it traditionnal ( people thing that it is all industrial but not!!!!)
    Great post!!!
    Miss xx

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  13. I'm not sure we can grow the right sort of Maple trees in the UK, does anyone know or is it more to do with the weather and the way the sap rises?
    I just Love that calender, please show some more pictures and tell us about it

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  14. Don't you just love those Little House on the Prairie stories, and of course the TV show? They were so genuine. Great post, Amy.

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  15. When we moved here,our trees were tapped ready for maple syrup production...but it's too labour intensive for us to bother with.
    Jane x

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  16. Really interesting post Amy. I love the illustrations in your calendar.

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  17. The "Dance at Grandpa's" chapter, with the maple-sugaring dance, is pretty much my favorite piece of literature ever. :)

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  18. I first heard of maple sugaring through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books too. They are amongst our favourite books ever and we have just about the whole Little House series on DVD - the series with Michael Landon. Love them! As far as I know we don't get any of the right sort of Maple trees here in the UK :(

    I love that calendar! Can you tell us who it's by? Perhaps I can find it on Amazon.

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  19. The Little House books are my all-time favourites! I read them when I was young, and then read them aloud to all of my children. I'm thinking of going back and rereading them again this year. It's nice to find another fan of the series!

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  20. I loved books and I remember that story. Melissa Gilbert who played Laura in the tv series, now lives in a small town near me.
    You brought back some good memories with this post!

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  21. I once saw photos of how maple syrup is collected in an old National Geographic magazine.
    I think I was in high school then and I thought it was fascinating. Your post has also reminded me of Little House on the Prairie. I loved that show when I was a kid. X

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  22. Didn't read the books, but I did love the television series xx

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  23. Thanks for sharing about my blog in your post today Amy. I appreciate it. Your calendar picture shows the old fashioned way of syrup gathering which is still done on a small scale and often on family farms like our neighbour's up the road. It takes 40 gallons of sap to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup! I hope you get to enjoy some Canadian maple syrup this season. xx Pam

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  24. I am sure that you have started something here now Amy - from the interest shown I have visions of Maple Tree Forests springing up all across the northern hemisphere.

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  25. I would love to be in North America to see the process for myself! Great pictures ! Little house is always a favorite too!

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  26. Now I want bacon, pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast (I will be having toast and jam!)

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  27. What an interesting post!
    I will buy the book in German (its aivable in translation, have seen at amazon), have in blog read about this too.

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  28. It's maple sugar time here, granddaughter went to the sugar bush today. We see buckets hanging on maple trees on our drives,p. It is so tasty. Your calendar photos are lovely, wonderful memories.

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  29. OH such wonderful memories of my youth Amy!! Just loved this walk down memory lane as I loved those books!!

    We have some wonderful local areas here in the north woods where they collect and process maple syrup and sell wonderful bottle of it!! Yum! xo

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  30. Talking of coincidences ... "The Little House in the Big Woods" was mentioned on Pointless tonight as one of the top 100 books children should read before they're 14. Fascinating! :o)

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  31. Over here in Ontario Canada the maple sugar is flowing like crazy now and lots of people are getting together at the sugar shacks to celebrate and have fresh maple Syrup on fresh made pancakes and enjoying a day out in the woods . Lovely post . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

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  32. A friend of mine has that same calendar in her kitchen. LOL

    When I was a kid we ate Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin syrup. I thought that was MAPLE syrup. Only when I was an adult did I get to try the real thing. Now that's all we have. REAL STUFF!

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  33. Oh I had forgotten that chapter until you showed me this. Yes, you remembered well. I, too, live in maple sugar country and I have missed it this year because the weather has not been right...much too cold in the days and not cold enough at night. Pam's photos are so wonderful!

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  34. My niece, who adores pancakes, recently asked me how maple syrup was made and I couldn't explain the process. Good to know. We only use real Canadian syrup and you can tell the difference, the real thing is like liquid gold. A lovely post!
    Amalia
    xo

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  35. This is a really interesting post Amy, the pictures on your calendar are lovely. I am going to look on Amazon to see if they have that book, I know a little girl who would love it x

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  36. I have been meaning to read Lauras books for a while, thank you for reminding me x

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  37. Weren't those just the best books? Really, I've loved them my entire life.

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  38. I love those calendar pictures, I never knew about this tradition and its so interesting to read the comments here of people taking part in maple sugaring events. Sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon in the snow.

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  39. As a child that was for many. many years my favourite book, mostly because of all the snow, and because of the maple sugaring. It all seemed so exotic, and far away in space and time. I eat maple syrup on my porridge every morning now, but growing up in the 70s I don't remember it being available in the UK, it certainly wasn't in the rural West Country, which is a pity because I much prefer the taste to honey. How lovely to revisit Laura and the maple trees courtesy of your sweet post :)

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  40. Wonderful post - I remember that chapter from the Little House book very well and now my girls are enjoying reading the stories too. xx

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  41. Lovely books! I read them with my girls now. :)

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