Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Maple Sugaring Field Trip

What a great time we had on our field trip yesterday! Although it was threatening thunderstorms and raining nicely as we were leaving, we prayed for a great field trip. We met at our friends house, did the unusual and threw burgers and fries from McD's at the kids while we drove quickly to the environmental education center. :)

We learned so many interesting things! I never knew that while many states can have maple trees, we are part of the only region in the WORLD that can create syrup and sugar from the sap because it only runs when it is cold at night and mild-warm in the day. They said yesterday was the perfect kind of weather for sap to run. (We were blessed to have it completely stop raining until we got in the car to leave too!)

Here are some pictures from our field trip:
Putting in all the ingredients needed for photosynthesis:

Cleaning out the center of elderberry branch to create the "pith".

Drilling the hole...

Tasting the sap--it mostly tasted like water.

The pith and bucket are in place.

The "modern" Civil-War era stove they used to boil the sap.

Doing it Indian Style. Did you ever think about howthe Indians boiled sap to create sugar having no metal utensils? It never occurred to me! It was awesome to learn that they used rocks from under their fires and constantly stirred and rotated them. Not to mention that they made sugar, not typically syrup as much since they didn't have bottles to store it.

Here is "Grandma" of the Che-Po-Ta-Kay. She said that her house was blessed but she didn't know about what spirits we had around us, so she used a branch to cleanse evil spirits from coming in on our backs. More interesting stories surrounded the grandma of the tribe, she was the leader and had numerous ways of delegating her power. For instance, if the kids don't listen to what she tells them to do, they only get 1/2 of their drinking cup filled, another time gets it 1/4 of the way filled, the 3rd time she throws their stuff out of the house and they are out to survive on their own for life. (Hmm...maybe we are a little too easy on our kids huh?)

Here is the inside of their house and we learned about the Indians thermostat system, how the boys were traded at the age of 13 in exchange for another tribes boys to become husbands for the daughters, and felt all the furs of the animals and how they used every piece...never wasting!

The Colonial Upgrade to Maple Syrup/Sugaring.

Lastly, it was the children's job to carry the yoke with buckets of sap to the sugar house. Our friend's daughter earned her keep just as we were served plastic spoons filled with maple syrup! Yum!

Thanks for learning with us!


C Maisy said...

what a great field trip. who had more or the kids???
Love the new look of your blog. Those bows look like you can reach out and touch them.

nikkicrumpet said...

What a fun thing for the kids to learn about and actually assist in. It's stuff like this that really teaches them lessons they never forget. So much better than reading about it in a book! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm glad the dogs made you laugh. They really are the stars of the show!

Blue Castle said...

This looks like a great field trip! I bet the kids had a blast. How interesting too.

I am still thinking over that part about kids that didn't listen. I'm kind of afraid mine would already be fending for themselves. :)