Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alchemy Discovers ...

Breakfast time at Tranquility Pastures
Alchemy watches as Frank pours homemade Maple Sryup onto his oatmeal
Alchemy admires the thick syrup stream as it flows down into the bowl of oatmeal...
A growing fondness for Sweet things.
One small taste and she is in love.

What is this sweet elixir she asks. Why it is home made Maple Syrup, Frank replies, liquid sugar distilled from Maple trees here on our farm.

What! show me how? Ah says, Frank, you came at just the right time to see how it is made.\

Alchemy and Ogee on Afternoon walk in wooded pasture
Come walk with me into the wooded side pastures, says Ogee.
Alchemy looks down pasture trail at tapped maple trees
Look close, see the bits of blue? those are bags hanging on metal taps, the sap from the tree drips out of the tap into the bag.

The Maple sap collected today is higher than Alchemy
Then each afternoon, Frank, mounts his 4 wheeler with this "pig" strapped on the back and collects the sap.
Alchemy watches Frank take maple sap out of "pig"
Next he takes the watery sap out of the pig and into the Maple Shack.
Frank shows Alchemy the boiling maple sap
Then boils and boils and boils it down to a rich thick brown syrup.

Next week after you are gone, he and Jane will bottle this year's batch.

And that my dear, Meerkat friend, is how Maple Syrup gets to the table at Tranquility Pastures Farm.

**Alchemy is the knitted Meerkat, one of the World Traveling Meerkats created by Heather of Nifty Knits. We are thrilled to have Alchemy as a house guest this week. Also note that when outdoors here on our farm, Alchemy wears a special clear plastic bubble coat.


Valentine Fiber Arts said...

It is absolutly amazing how many gallons of sap it takes to make a small amout of syrup! I am glad that you were able to share this exciting experience with the little traveling Meerkat.

niftyknits said...

There is so much more going on at your farm than I had previously realised Jane, I hope Alchemy is being a good farm hand! I've never actually tasted maple syrup, I have brown sugar on my porridge. I imagine any maple syrup I find here in the UK will be but a feeble imitation of your home-grown nectar?

Waterrose said...

OH yum! Isn't it amazing that such wonderful stuff comes from a tree?

Pamela Zimmerman said...

omg that is so fun and yummy! I am envious. What a lot of work it is, too! I can hardly believe you have time for us, Jane!

leapinggazelle said...

oh my, Jane, homemade maple syrup? what a treat! Alchemy looks like she's having so much fun. I'd love to come for a visit too :)

Country Mouse said...

Jane, I had no idea that you & your hubby were both so amazing! Real maple syrup is so superior to that imitation stuff we buy in most supermarkets.

Beadstylin said...

Oh, wow...the real thing? Every time I want to buy it at the store, it's like ten bucks for a tiny bottle. I'm so envious. Do you sell any, by chance? ;-) -- Jeannie

awkward said...

Wow! I'm glad I saw Nifty's link to this--what a neat blog. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of the maple syrup process. :)

Glorious Hats said...

Wow! so appreciate all the comments. It sounds as though many of you, just as Alchemy, like sweet stuff.

Valentine, you are so right, it takes between 30 to 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Frank taps 24 trees each year and we generally range from 1 to 7 gallons finished syrup. The weather and picking just the right time to catch the sap flow count in the luck factor. This year we anticipate about 1 gallon finished.

Nifty, our syrup is likely a bit stronger on the Maple flavor. Top grade Maple syrup is actually lighter, same sweetness level, but boiled faster to get the sugar content with less cooking time.

Rose, Pamela, and Country Mouse, Yes it is amazing, how much of what is in the world around us can be used for food. We feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to live as we do.

LeapingGazelle, You and family would be welcome here anytime; there are many wonderful sites to photograph and you would do them so much justice. I've focused on farm things during Alchemy's because of needing to be home between calf birthing and maple syruping. Will do a little bit of town today-- but we are only hitting the very tip of the ice berg.

Oh Bead, thanks for asking, but don't think the gov food people would approve our facility -- we cook down in that very old log cabin -- it was the original homestead blacksmith shop, built around 1917. Just as with our vegetable garden, we use the product mostly for ourselves and gift a little to local friends.

Awkward, glad you enjoyed the glimpse.

Kim's Crafty Apple said...

What a great experience so few get to have! Alchemy is so lucky!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I'm loving Alchemy's visit, and wishing we had a maple tree or two.

My Mother's Garden said...

Oh my goodness! What a treat to see how your maple syrup is made. I only wish I was there at your kitchen table enjoying a big bowl of oatmeal covered in your home grown and homemade maple syrup.
Ogee is adorable!

Glorious Hats said...

Thanks, Kim, Jill and Karrita. So pleased you stopped by and enjoyed the article.

TeresaM said...

Looks like a fun time!!! I can remember my grandpa tapping the trees to make syrup!

Love Alchemy's flower!!! Isn't she the cutiest thing!