Some evenings, Pete insists on feeding Linus his dinner, and because I am tired and busy and no longer have any sense of pride over the cleanliness of my children, I just let him go for it. Anyway, all the food somehow makes it (mostly) into Linus’ mouth and it seems to make Linus like his brother, so hell why not.
Well, it warmed up FINALLY. So Saturday we signed up for a Maple-Syrup workshop, and like that: off we went to Waunakee.
FYI: the only Waunakee in the world. Duh.
Also someone in Waunakee is a dedicated Packers fan.
ANYHOO. First things first: we stopped at Doughboy’s Pizza for a quick bite before the workshop. Good pizza, peeps, if you ever find yourself in the only Waunakee in the world.
And then we were off to Schumacher Farm Park, for our maple syrup workshop of awesome. The grounds were… not so awesome. Several inches of squishy mud, people. Apparently that’s what happens when it warms up and a foot of snow all melts at once. I am glad Pete wore his old crappy boots.
We found the group out behind one of the barns, and started our lesson right away. We learned about how to identify a maple ‘in the wild’ and how to drill, tap, and boil off your syrup. In short: not terribly difficult, but certainly time consuming. You boil it all day ALL DAY. They recommend starting before the sun is up, and boiling until it is dark again. That’s a long day, man.
Linus was Over It after oh, about five minutes. Usually his patience runs much higher than that in these situations, but I suspect we are getting into teething (judging by a few other things going on). So he was Linus the Whinus on and off the entire time, it was lovely. Scott took him for several little walks while I stuck around and listened to the full lesson.
I mean, I kinda half-listened (thank goodness for the handouts with full instructions they provided). Hey, a few fun facts about maple-syrup making! You can only collect when it freezes at night but is slightly warmer (30s to 40s) during the day. Once the tree starts to bud, the sap stops flowing. Last year was a long season, as the change from winter to spring was slow and long, almost 2 months. The year before it went from 30 degrees daytime highs to 60 degrees in less than a week, so the sap-collecting season was 3 days. Three. DAYS. That’s it. I hope they were on top of things…
Also: grading on the syrup is based purely on the color. Early sap is almost clear, and a light amber after boiling down to syrup. That’s Grade A. By the end of the season the syrup ends up quite dark, and can be a C or even a D.
Pete kept busy throughout the talk by picking up sticks and running amok all over the farm, fighting imaginary Transformers. Oh, to be a four year old.
Finally they tapped a tree to show us how this thing all worked. The temps seemed to be the perfect weather for it, but they had not actually tapped that tree yet, so there was a question as to whether it would yield sap. But sure enough, there it was. Everyone cheered.
No really, they all cheered. It was kinda funny. Yay, sap!
After the talk and demonstration, we were told we could head to the bonfire for S’mores or head out to see the sugar bush (that is the official term for group of baby sugar maple trees. Yeah I dunno either, that’s just what they call them.) We set out with the group to walk out to the sugar bush, which was only about a mile, but it was still rather snowy and Pete wiped out (and was soaked) so we headed back after getting about halfway there. Maybe next time.
There were S’mores to be had, anyhow. And MAN, but I am really regretting giving up sweets for Lent right about now. I also got caught by some Girl Scouts earlier in the week on a trip to the grocery store, so now I’m the proud owner of Girl Scout cookies. That I will never get to eat. Talk about painful, facing those things in the pantry every time I open the door.
And then we headed home, after wading through another four inches of mud all the way back to the car (Scott and I carrying children to spare them that horror). Linus zonked in the car right before we got home. Pete made it just fine, no shocker there.
Sunday we did our usual and ran around like crazy catching up on things. Laundry, housework, cleaning, getting ready for the week ahead. You know, the usual. Linus finally fits his creepy bunny sweater romper thing I got for him ages ago, that’s something to commemorate. I was so excited to run into that thing in the GAP clearance section, man. I could not stop cackling when I saw it. And it was only $5 (I mean, shockingly). If you know me, you know that I am never one to turn down weird clothes for my children. So anyway, Linus happily played baby model this morning, because he is still too young to know any better.
Pete could not care any less and spent his time watching Power Rangers on my phone. Oh, Power Rangers. He is now a huge fan, this is something he came upon in a fever-induced Netflix binge and it stuck. Guh.
Then later in the day, I headed to The Coliseum to shoot a St. Baldrick’s Day head shaving. Of my fellow Madison/mommy blogger, Lisa. She didn’t even flinch, that rockstar. I would like to say I jumped in and did the same, but no. I like my long hair and am too much of a wimp.
That about sums it up, folks. We are due another week of lovely temps in the 30s/40s, so I plan on taking full advantage. By not tapping a maple tree, because I have no maple trees. BUT ANYWAY. Have a great week everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow! 🙂