Thursday, February 16, 2012

It took some convincing but.....

We have tapped some maple trees!

When I was younger I remember going to visit my great grandfather and he would be sitting in the sugar shack boiling the maple syrup. The smell was heavenly. I remember sitting next to him in his old rocking chairs by the heat of the boiler and listening to his stories about when he was younger. I remember being excited to visit him, being excited to "help" grandpa make maple syrup.

A little while later my great grandfather passed away and my father bought great grandpa's house. I remember thinking how exciting it was going to be to carry on the tradition and make our own maple syrup. Then that first year came. We all bundled up and hiked out throughout the acres of woods that our family owned to collect sap. My cousins, brother and sister and I all gathered in a wagon with a big "tank" in the middle. My uncle or my dad would drive the tractor and we would drive all over the hillside collecting from the many trees. Freezing sometimes and tired we would come back to the sugar shack where it was warm and smelled of sweet maple syrup. It was interesting to learn how to do it.

Mind you, we did not produce this on a large scale. We did not sell it anywhere but the house and that was only to a few of our friends and neighbors. But we made a "TON" of it.

So then came the subsequent years....and year after year the fun dwindle. It became more of a chore than it did a fun interesting project. The nights of staying up and taking turns trying to keep my dad or my brother and sister awake to make sure we had an eye on the boiler. The times we were sitting in there by ourselves listening to the radio and watching sap boiling. Kind of the same as watching a pot of water boil except for it smells better!

Don't get me wrong I loved the end result even though I didn't/don't eat pancakes or anything of the nature that often. The taste of fresh made maple syrup is so much more flavorful than that of the store. It is as my grandfather would say, "As sweet as love."

So as I grew older I swore to myself that I would cherish those memories of the times I loved it and forget about the times I hated it. I would make sure I never did it when I got older so that I would still be able to cherish those moments.

But as Eric has been begging me for a few years now for us to do it, I could not refuse this year. We have slowly been trying to convert ourselves to more of a "homesteading" family. So I guess this is just one more step in that direction.

I will have to say deep down in side I am excited about it. Even though we don't have a "sugar shack" and will only be doing small batches on the stove in our home. It will hopefully be a little more enjoyable doing it in small batches. And of course now that I am older I will appreciate the outcome much more. It is amazing what changes when we grow older. Our outlook on life and things that were so "annoying" turn into something that is a necessity or a way of saving money. Then we understand when it is too late. I can't go back and enjoy it then but I can change and enjoy it now!

 I am excited to have Eric Jr playing a roll in it. He went with daddy to tap the trees. He tasted the sap. And was very excited to tell me when I got home from an appointment..."Mommy, we makin' seer-up!"

We will only be making enough to support our families with it. Not to sell it. So here we go!

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