Thursday, February 9, 2012

Maple Festival

I know it's a broken record you've heard here before, but we live in the greatest area! 

Last weekend the kids and I trekked out to Rockwoods Reservation for a quick glimpse at maple sugaring!  No, we don't live in Vermont nor the northeast corner of anything ~ but apparently all you really need is the right sized sugar maple tree, a few supplies, and time.  With a little educating you, too, can have fresh, pure maple syrup on your morning pancakes! 


We took a hike up into the woods where the park rangers showed how to identify a sugar maple tree by the number of points on its leaves and its branch patterns. (Did you know trees exhibit one of two types of branch pattern?  Who knew, right?  You totally learned something on my blog today, didn't you?!)

The kids got a taste of tree sap straight from the collection buckets!

Sara said it tasted like toothpaste.  :)  Everyone else said it tasted just a little sweet.  I didn't have the guts to play baby birdie getting squirtied. 

We also learned how settlers heated the sap in stages of three buckets...

(do those kids look super enthusiastic, or what?  In their defense, it was cold and raining!)

...and sampled some tasty maple sugar!

That certainly appealed to everyone - and all agreed tasting maple sugar was the best part of the trip! 

After the hike, we hustled back to the main area of the festival to try more samples (my bucket list includes trying candy on snow - like in Little House in the Big Woods when Ma drizzles hot maple syrup on a bucket of snow to make a delicious treat for Laura and Mary - but alas, we were too late and the campground was a ghost town.)

Guess that just means we have to allow more time and do it again next year! 

What a cool thing to try in the middle of Missouri!
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