Monday, March 26, 2007

Willingly boring holes in my teeth.

Yesterday morning, a beautifully sunny and brisk Sunday, a group of friends, acquaintances, and I ventured to the little pioneer village just outside of town to participate in the annual Sugar Bush ritual. We left at a relatively early hour, considered by some to be unreasonably early, in the hopes of beating the post-church crowds.

For those of you who have never experienced a Sugar Bush festival, it is an event the surrounds the production of maple syrup: Once all of the sap has been collected, it is boiled for hours and hours (~20 or so, I think), until it is reduced to the sticky goodness that is real maple syrup- it takes something like 30-40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup!

Once the syrup stage is reached, one pot is kept on the fire to be reduced even
further, in order to produce maple candy. This wondrous stuff is then poured over snow to cool, and then wrapped around a popsicle stick to make a sugary lollipop of bliss that will rot your teeth out of your mouth even as you consume it.

In my hometown, this process is combined with the annual fundraiser for the local Search and Rescue: what better to go with fresh maple syrup than a pancake breakfast? Once you've gorged yourself on a plate of pancakes and eggs and bacon and sauage and beans and toast, you can work it all off by wandering around the village, which is beautifully situated, and really quite pretty. This is made incredibly enjoyable by the satisfying feel of a full belly and listening to children yelp in delight as the pigs snuffle about their stalls. Later, you can stop in at the pub for hot apple cider (or hot toddy...), and purchase just about every form of maple sugar known to humankind.

I can't quite put my finger on why, but I always enjoy this outing immensley. It was a good Sunday.

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