Maple Syrup Making {Spring Break Trip}

Thrift Schooling

On day two of our spring break, my husband calls me on his lunch break. I explain to him about the lapbooks the kids are working on, the books we read and what we had planned for the rest of the day. His response, "Well, I'll let you go enjoy your spring break..." Haha. It's true. Learning is too much fun that it's too hard to escape it during breaks! This year we did things a little differently for our break. We actually had no clue when we were going to take it. 

We were waiting to hear from up north when the maple trees were ready to be tapped, then we were going to surprise the kids with a trip up to visit their grandparents in Wellsboro, PA who have over a hundred taps on their property! Once we received the call I secretly packed bags, did laundry, gathered snow gear and shopped for snacks hoping the kids would be oblivious to all the commotion going on around the house. Before we left I prepped them on the basics of maple syrup making, (teaching myself a thing or two in the process,) by having them make lapbooks. 

Surprisingly enough, this was the first lapbook we have embarked on. I've been meaning to attempt the task but it always seemed like more work for me when they were younger, not wanting to cut everything out. Now that they are older, my boys were able to complete their first lapbooks! And with pride. I was amazed at how into the activities my second grader was. When I would introduce each new mini book or activity, his face would light up with excitement and he would eagerly complete it. He loves to create, art is a strength of his so I do foresee more lapbooks in our near future! As for my youngest, she patiently worked on her coloring skills right alongside the boys. 

After the lapbooks we still did not tell the kids that we were planning to go anywhere for the rest of our break. We secretly packed the car and headed out in the middle of the week, not telling the kids where we are headed. My oldest son said, "It seems like we are going to Grandpas." My husband's response, "Sure does." And left it at that. Haha. And seriously, after almost two hours they finally got antsy and asked, "so, are we on our way home?" After we said nooooo, it's a surprise, they finally realized something was up! After eight hours of driving we arrived at their grandparents which was a fun treat for them! 

The next few days were filled with the educational process of maple syrup making!

Hoses attached to Grandpa's trees collecting the maple sap.

Buckets collecting sap

Where the sugar masters made it happen!

The syrup came in to the sugar shack to be boiled. For hours.
My six year old had a true "a-ha" moment after a few hours that this was not a short process.
When we had talked about "boiling the sap" he envisioned a small pot on the stove for a bit. This put things into perspective! Here he is skimming the dirt from the foam in the evaporator.

The evaporator was fueled with a wood fire that had to be continuously fed throughout the day.

This "sugar snow" put a stop
to the maple syrup making during our visit!

The final product!

After several days of spending time with family, friends, and the sweet smell of boiling liquid,  we were ready to head back home! Even though the season wasn't the best, due to cold weather, the kids were able to see first hand the long yet rewarding process of maple syrup making!

Are you a local reader and want to purchase some syrup? Email me at thriftschooling at gmail dot com or visit our booth at the Spencer Penn Centre's Bar-B-Q Cookoff  April 12, 2014 from 11-4pm. Just look for the blacksmith by the NVAble Items booth! We'd love to see you! 

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