Saturday, March 04, 2006

The LDMSPA Tapping Out Party

That's where we spent part of our afternoon (see above photo): at the LDMSPA (which stands for Lanark District Maple Something or Other) Tapping Out Party. That's when they tap the sugar maples in order to catch the sap and make maple syrup. Of course, it's too cold for much sap to run yet this year, but schedules are schedules, and the show must go on.

As soon as we approached by foot up the driveway, we heard music: a delightful group of musicians, including a fiddler. You really want to have a fiddler around these parts if you possibly can. The Ottawa Valley, or just The Valley, locally, is known for that. As you can see in the photo below, onlookers could sit on planks supported by bales of hay. Quite wonderful. That's the sugar shack on the left.

We next chanced upon a little area where these two homespun comedians held sway. They had all sorts of funny little items, mostly for kids, that I won't elaborate on here, and they were both quite besotted with the lovely Cuppa. In the photo above, she is pretending to carry two buckets of sap, the way they used to do it. (They have plastic piping running through the bush these days.) The guy on the left seized every comedic opportunity to hug Cuppa. It got a little much after a while, but we were both good sports about it.

They used to boil the sap in kettles like the one below. It would hang from a tripod of three wooden beams. It would take about two days for them to make syrup from the sap, and they would only get about one gallon of syrup from ten gallons of sap. Now they can do the same thing with greater quantity in about an hour.

A closeup (above) of the guy who really took a shine to Cuppa. Too old to do much harm, I figure. Besides the mighty and rugged Anvilcloud was close at hand to protect his woman's honour if need be.

Then, we went on a sleigh ride, pulled by the two Belgians. I have never been on a sleigh before, several wagon rides but no sleigh rides. These two creatures effortlessly pulled the sleigh and it's dozen or so riders uphill in sticky snow with amazing ease. Too bad Cuppa didn't have an apple (below).

That's the synopsis of our afternoon of getting in touch with the rural parts of our rural county. Quite a treat really!



Granny said...

I remember a few sleigh rides when I was growing up but ours were mostly hay rides with a wagon in the fall.

I think our climate was very like yours. We weren't that far from the Ontario border.

No maple syrup I don't think though. For that we looked to Vermont or New Hampshire. We had maples, lots of them, but probably a different variety.

nux said...

howdie Juncle, mary said she remembered tyou saying that you could check how many people have visited your blog and when and so on and so forth and we were wondergin how you got at that info. i'd have e-mailked this but gmail is temporarily down.


Gina said...

Thanks for the tour!

And to think, today here in SoCal we had the annual Kite Festival on the beach!

PBS said...

What a wonderful day! I had an aunt who had horses and took us for sleigh rides in the wintertime. She had bells on the horses and everything, it was really fun! We don't have any sugaring going on here yet either.

Simply Coll said...

This looks like a most delightful time. Love the photos!

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

It's nice to see you and the partner have been out enjoying life and each other. The sis tapped her trees today.

Bonita said...

You were most fortunate to have such an experience. Wow.

Dale said...

"A closeup (above) of the guy who really took a shine to Cuppa."
Glad you clarified that, AC. I was ready to pronounce him a horse's ass!

Great pics. A fun day, I'll bet.

Lanark District Maple Syrup Producers Association?

Lora said...

Sounds like a very fun outing, bringing out all the romance of traditions.

Turtle Guy said...

...ok, let's see if this works...

Delightful! The closest experience to this one I remember having was a Christmas tree cutting party where we sat around in much the same conditions drinking mulled wine and munching on whatever rolled off the grill over the fire.

Dale - a horse's ass, indeed!