Farm Sprouts kicked off another week with ideal conditions for maple sugaring with average temperatures at or below freezing at night and above freezing during the day. Here is a short and sweet explanation on this natural phenomenon. We’ve begun noting the temperatures and exposing Farm Sprouts to the importance of temperature to the season. We utilize a thermometer out in the sugar bush to note the outdoor temperature to predict sap flow and in the sugar shack to monitor the temperature of the sap boiling into syrup in our evaporator. Once the temperatures remain above freezing during both the day and night, the buds appear and the sap no longer carries the flavor profile that creates the tasty maple syrup we all love.
Farm Sprouts signed in this week by trailing rabbit tracks to a sugar maple tree. We wonder how trees help animals? So far we’ve identified animal homes (i.e. holes) at the base of several trees in the forest and discovered holes in trees made by insects. We’re very curious about who might make holes in trees. We’ve also found acorns on the ground near to our campfire area and imagine some animals might enjoy eating tree nuts. We encourage you to be on the lookout for other ways trees might help animals.
During our morning welcome and greetings, we (re)familiarized ourselves with maple sugaring tools, including voting for rubber mallet or drill, engaging as imaginative play as sugar workers in our cardboard sugar shack, and peering into our special “Discovery Box” to discuss and hold some of the tools we utilize for sugaring.
Out in the sugar bush, we checked in on the sugar shack, gathered around the campfire for a snack of roasted sweet potatoes and apples and mint tea, both with maple syrup as the secret ingredient, and freely played and explored together in the nearby forest. We also tapped our maple sugar tree, all having a chance to work a drill to make a hole in the tree, to pound in the adapter with our rubber mallet, and set up the tubing and bucket for collection. We were thrilled to see the sap begin to drip out of our fresh-drilled hole! We’re learning many ways trees can help us, from lighting fires to providing shelter and food to eat.
Throughout our day, we thanked the sugar maple trees for all they offer us and for those who came before us on this land. We closed with our traditional Farm Sprouts circle of gratitude.
“If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come. If we never wonder, knowledge will never find us.”
“Before eating, always take time to thank the food.”
― Arapaho Proverbs