We toured the sugarhouse where they boil the tree sap down to maple syrup. They had this massive vat of boiling sap, and this teensy little silver container to hold the syrup that comes out-- apparently it takes 40 whole gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of the syrup. Whoa. Just this past week a guest came to Donovan's school and showed them how to tap the maple trees in the play yard to collect sap so D informed us that he already knows ALL ABOUT getting the sap, but I think he enjoyed seeing a bit of how they turn it into actual maple syrup.
The cute, old-timey way to collect sap with the metal bucket... They had these on most of the trees by the farmhouse, but back in the woods you could see they had most of the trees rigged up with this plastic tubing connected to several trees, leading into a big tub to collect sap from them all at once. Not as cute, much more efficient.
We then went into the sales room where they had tastings of the different grades of syrup (which we learned vary due to the way the trees produce the sap depending on the weather and time of year-- lighter amber/flavor early in the season, darker and richer as it warms up), their cheddars, and a bunch of different jams and jellies. The boys loved the syrup tastings, of course, but spent most of their time playing outside on the farm grounds.
(I love how these pictures look like the trees in the background got desaturated...that's 100% natural. I didn't touch the colors there.)
Tractors! Snowmobiles! Oh my!
It was definitely a fun adventure, worth the trek. On our way back we stopped by the Simon Pearce store in Queechee to watch the glassblowers in action and I got a lot of cool pictures of that, too, but I'll save those for another post...
(Full set of pictures here on flickr)