Thursday, March 7, 2013

maple moon

It's about the right time to start tapping maple trees, I think. The days are creeping slightly above freezing and the nights dip back below. But I don't think we're going to tap our Norways this year. There are so many other things I want to learn and do, I just don't know if it's worth my time this year, especially since I have now developed such a taste for maple syrup, we're consuming about a litre of the stuff every month. (It's not just for pancakes here. Yogurt with homemade granola and maple syrup is my very favourite afternoon snack - especially with Saugeen Country Yogurt - and maple syrup is my favourite topping for oatmeal too.) I'm quite certain the trees in our yard couldn't even make enough for us to last a month.

I have been stuck on quite the farm fantasy lately, although it's lessened a bit recently. But every time I engage in my usual Friday night MLS fantasizing (pathetic, I know), I discover that a couple of acres and a barn is not enough to satisfy my fantasy. I want acres of pasture and hay, a big old barn and other old outbuildings, and a good woodlot and maple bush. And a house with a root cellar AND a pantry with a window. You get the idea.

Maple syrup is rather expensive, especially compared to refined sugar, but it's local and possibly uses less resources than shipping and refining sugar. That said, it uses a lot of energy to boil the sap down. A book I picked up in my thrift store obsession, The Sugar Bush Connection, says it takes a pile of wood that's 8 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet to boil 250 gallons of sap into 5 gallons of syrup. Another pile half as big is used to turn the syrup into hard brown sugar.

I would love to eventually cut out refined sugar and use only maple syrup and honey. Obviously, that would be expensive. Unless we could supply all of our own. If I had enough maple trees and the space to cook it down outside, I would be totally motivated. I think. But I don't have that, and I'm not right now.

Eldest really wants to throw a party or festival. So we're thinking of having some kind of maple celebration. I suspect this will be yet another idea that never makes it to fruition, but wouldn't it be fun to make a bunch of maple yummies and have some friends over to taste them? Or better yet, maybe we could make it a potluck and people could choose what mapley goodness to bring.

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