Collecting Sugar Maple Sap

Last Friday I posted my second Girl on the Go event—making maple syrup. This past Saturday I went to Whitewater State Park to learn about the process. It was a beautiful day and perfect for collecting sugar maple sap.

The event started in the park office. The Interpretive Naturalist that works for the park gave us a little history about maple syrup. Apparently, an Iroquois Indian chief stumbled across the sap when he swung his axe into a sugar maple tree. When he pulled his axe out, he noticed the liquid dripping from the tree. The Native American Indians began curing meat and cooking with the sap. They also made maple rock candy to lengthen the shelf life.

After the history lesson, we drove a short distance to a gated driveway in the park. There were several trees in close proximity, called a sugar bush, that had buckets attached to spiles, or spouts, collecting the sap.

The first mission for the group was to find a maple tree. Since it was a little more difficult to find a maple tree without leaves, the Naturalist instructed the group to look for three things.

First, look for trees with long, rough bark. Then, look for new branches that are growing opposite each other, making a t-shape off of the larger branch. And last, check the dead leaves surrounding the tree and determine if the leaves are maple leaves.

searching for a sugar maple tree

Once a tree is selected, it’s important to make sure the tree is large enough to collect sap. The tree needs to be about 10″ in diameter. The tree our group found was the perfect size, so we put a spile, or spout, into the tree.

First a hole was drilled into the tree with a 7/16″ drill bit. The hole was dug at an angle so the sap would drain into the bucket.

drilling a hole for sugar maple sap

After the hole was drilled, the spile was added, and the bucket was hung on the spile.

Collecting Sugar Maple Sap Haiku

 

After collecting sap, the sap was put into a large, metal container for boiling. The boiling process takes about 4 hours.

boiling the sap from the sugar maple tree

Since the process takes a while, we obviously didn’t taste the syrup from the tree that we tapped. But, the Naturalist did have a small container of syrup made from another batch.

Now for the best part, right? Tasting.

The Naturalist passed around small paper cups and a little shot of syrup. Well, even though I have been wanting to learn about the process, I hate the taste of maple syrup. I always have. I put blueberry syrup on my pancakes. Nevertheless, I did try the syrup because I thought it would make a difference since it was fresh. Nope. I didn’t like it one bit. I gave the rest to my husband.

Even though I didn’t like the taste of the syrup, the whole process is fascinating, and now I understand why it’s so expensive! There is only a three week time period right before spring when the sap can be collected, and, the process takes a while.

Today’s Haiku:

sugar maple sap
boils into dark sweet syrup
warm, springtime sun

~

Do you like maple syrup? Do you prefer the real maple syrup or does Aunt Jemima work for you?

~Nicole

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Girl on the Go: Making Maple Syrup

Hey, Hey, it’s Friday!

If you recall, last week I started my Girl on the Go list, aka the bucket list. Last week, I started my list with making soap. I signed up for this class on April 3rd. The owner of  Simple Soaps for Simple Folks offers classes on a regular basis. More details to come…

Today, I have another easy task to add to my list. It’s so easy that I am going to accomplish this on Saturday. I am traveling to Whitewater State Park Saturday afternoon to make maple syrup. The DNR hosts a variety of classes at Whitewater State Park during the week, and this weekend it’s all about making maple syrup.

I have been wanting to do this for a while, but haven’t had the chance. When my editor contacted me and asked if I would cover this event for the newspaper, I was ecstatic!

tapping-maple-trees-haiku

image credit: knoxvillefirearmschool.com

 

Today’s Haiku:

collecting sap
from a grand old maple
first taste of spring

 ~

 Has anyone made maple syrup before?

Have a fantastic weekend! I am taking the day off from my blog on Saturday, but I’ll be back on Sunday with a haiku created with a prompt from Haiku Horizons. I’ll also have a few tidbits from my maple syrup making excursion.

Please check out more Girl on the Go adventures by clicking the link!

~Nicole

A Hiking We Will Go

A winter wonderland…

I love hiking in Whitewater State Park. I always find beauty each time I go.

Hiking up the Dakota trail in snowy conditions

A gorgeous view atop the bluffs

High on the bluffs overlooking the Meadow Trail

A Hiking We Will Go Haiku

Ascending…
arrive atop the bluffs
wintry landscape

My goal…less is more. I enjoy deviating from the traditional 5-7-5 haiku rules.

I will continue experimenting with line length, punctuation and strong words to describe a scene, feeling or thought.

I’ll be spending my Black Friday painting, writing and hopefully reading. Is anyone else avoiding retail stores on this crazy day?

~Nicole

Finding Beauty Throughout the Day

It’s time for the weekly Haiku Challenge. In the month of September, I posted a haiku poem for each day. I enjoyed this process and I decided to continue building my collection of haiku poems. Each week, I will post at least one haiku along with a photo.

The image below was taken from my hike last week in Whitewater State Park. This picture resonates with me because even though our path through life is challenging, there is beauty all around. I hope this little slice of life brings peace to your day, whether you are overworked or feeling ill. Take each step one by one…find beauty in everything you do.

Bridge in Whitewater State Park

Haiku Challenge

Traveling down a
path, not knowing where it leads.
Find beauty each day.

Tell me something beautiful in your life?

~Nicole

 

Family of Asters

Hey, Hey, It’s Monday!

Tonight I am attending a wine tasting at my friend’s house, who is also the editor/publisher of Rochester Women magazine. The wine tasting is research for my next article. We are tasting dessert wines from local wineries. And dessert wines are my favorite!

I hope to have a post tomorrow about this experience, but that might be pushing it. The deadline for this article was due on the 22nd of September. Yep, a week ago.

Unfortunately, our schedules were so hectic this was the day the five of us could get together. I’ll be pecking away at the keyboard trying to finish the dessert wine article as soon as possible. But, my last haiku is scheduled for tomorrow and I don’t want to miss the last day! I am thinking a haiku based on dessert wine.

Anyway, I managed to take about 100 photos this weekend on my hiking adventures. So, here is another image from Saturday. It’s my inspiration for the Haiku Challenge.

Flowers in Whitewater State Park

Day 29: Haiku Challenge

Pale purple asters
blooming. Gathered together
like a family.

What is your favorite fall flower?

~Nicole

 

 

At One with Nature

Hello,

I hope you have had a great weekend!

I enjoyed my hike so much on Friday, I decided to go back to Whitewater and hike a different trail on Saturday afternoon. It has been a nice alternative to running around my neighborhood or hitting the gym.

I hiked the Dakota trail and took a different route at the top. At the first fork in the trail I meandered down the hillside to the Valley Trail. The trail was shrouded by trees still full of leaves, and many of the downed trees and rocks were covered with moss.

Valley Trail in Whitewater State Park

Whitewater State Park

The trail followed the river for a bit and that’s were I found the inspiration for my next haiku.

Whitewater River in Whitewater State Park

Day 28: Haiku Challenge

Mossy river bank—
little nooks and crannies are
filled with the unknown.

Are any of you avid hikers or nature lovers?

~Nicole