The 'tudes popped up among some of the kiddies who didn't not think school should be required and so there was some clashing of wills, but through it all we got done what we could and left for the maple farm just after 1. We packed our rain gear just in case, but the sun was shining and it was nice to be outside.
At the farm, we were ushered into the actual sugaring room where the gathered sugarleaf sap is collected and put into the evaporator so that we could watch a video about the process. It was fascinating. I learned several new facts. For example, a sugarleaf maple isn't productive until about 40 years old, approximately 10 inches in diameter. It has a lifespan of about 400 years! Good thing because the sap is almost all water with only 3-4% sugar and then they evaporate off the water until the syrup reaches just the right viscosity. It takes something like 30-40 gallons of sap to make ONE gallon of syrup depending on the time of year. Pure maple syrup has to be refrigerated unlike the stuff we usually buy at the grocery store that has preservatives in it, BUT you can store it in the freezer because it won't freeze solid and it will still pour at about the consistency of molasses and it will keep indefinitely in there. We got to sample the four grades of maple syrup - Fancy, Amber, Medium Amber, and B (Darkest) to see if we had a taste preference.
The farm also had some bunnies and goats and a donkey and a miniature horse for the kids to look at while we all enjoyed Creemies - soft serve ice cream with maple syrup swirled in. Really good, but VERY sweet and quite the bee attractant.
|These goats loved to munch maple leaves and they were pretty vocal and kept butting each other over them.|
|Silly Cow/boy #2|
|In the middle of the tour, watching "robo-cow", a holstein spot inspired robotic arm which moved cases onto a pallet|
After the second tour of the day, we decided that we'd better head back to the trailer and get our real work done because tomorrow we are driving halfway to Acadia State Park in Maine. Still trying to wrap my head around this trip sometimes. Can't believe we are actually doing this! Pretty incredible. Thank you, God!