I am fortunate to live near a sugar woods with three active camps. It is just ten minutes from my studio. Every year I go (almost) and every year I come home inspired. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to gather sugar from the maple trees.
What is so inspiring about it is you see people working so hard doing what they love. Most camps have people there lending them a hand. Everyone is working together in the simplest of conditions. People are there making syrup, and have been for generations because they love what they do.
The scent is comforting. The steam is rolling. And people are making…just making.
Most of my morning was spent working on a rug but it was lovely to take a hike this afternoon with members of the local trails society and see the maple syrup and candy being made. I always come home feeling ready to get back to work.
In the first day of spring my husband and daughter joined me for our annual walk into the Sugar Woods. It’s a Cumberland County thing to do.
The road was packed smoothly with snow on that chilly day and it was busy with people of all ages, families spending the day together, children, lots of stollers and dogs too, all going in and out of the woods. Many returnees were enjoying some taffy on a stick or a maple leaf.
There are three camps along Maple Lane, two were boiling that day. The furthest one in is ‘off the grid’ and features an old homemade waterwheel. The ice formations around it were pretty interesting.
We bought treats at each camp as their products differ in darkness. I am told that it has to do with altitude and the sun. Nonetheless, all are yummy.
So again this year, we have Cumberland County maple syrup right out of the woods, to marinate our salmon, add to dressings and baked beans, to top our pancakes, and yes, to sweeten our lives.
You will need:
1/2 dozen people you love
a good dose of fresh air
1 big black pot
The kids are visiting this week end
and with some luck
between yet again snow storms and freezing rain
we got a warm sunny Saturday
my husband decided to boil a little sap this year
yesterday we went all out
the big black cauldron was brought to the woods
a fire pit was made
we collected dry branches
we collected some sap
we lit the fire
it felt like pioneer’s time
there was even a piece of pork to be smoked for bacon
we hung out for hours
unplugged from our oh so omnipresent technology
a miniature house and igloo were built
the smell of the woods, the fire and the sap boiling
filled our lungs and put our minds at peace
as notion of time evaporated
On the menu for this dreary Sunday morning: pancake with fresh maple syrup and homemade bacon. Sun is shining in the house!