Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sweet Sugary Syrup!

I travel to Hopkinsville, Kentucky quite often, the route I take is a route less traveled and is quite scenic. On a trip last Thursday I discovered many trees in a front yard which were tapped to harvest the sap. Can you guess what kind of trees? Sugar maples of course! I had to make a special trip out there this week just to snap some pictures.

I have heard the sap from Acer saccharum, aka Sugar Maple, NOT to be confused with Acer saccharinum, aka Silver Maple, is not harvested all that much down here in the south. Something to do with not enough cold hours in order to make the sap really run to make harvesting the sap worthwhile. Not so for this family. They harvest the sap, boil it down and sell it. As you can see from the pictures, there are quite a few trees with at least three bags per tree, so perhaps we do have enough cold to make harvest sugar maple sap worthwhile.

Sugar maples are beautiful trees which do not grow well in the deep south, but they do grow fine here. Oftentimes you will find sugar maples growing around old farmsteads. They are SO beautiful in the fall when they turn their brilliant golds and auburns. I always think of them as sheltering the farmstead they surround and love taking pictures of them in the fall. Something about an old maple, so big and strong and protective makes me feel happy and I always think about the homeowners who planted these trees dozens of years ago. Their legacy lives on in these beautiful trees, it really does.

As you can see from the pictures, these particular trees are donating a great deal of sap to their owner's cause. I think I will have to take that path less traveled back to Hopkinsville and stop again to purchase some sweet, sugary syrup once it is fully processed and ready for sale. I am not sure when that will be but will check frequently.

In Maine, my home state, tapping sugar maples is a rite of early spring. I am used to buckets being used up there but it appears as though the plastic bags work just fine too. So, I ask you, when we see sugar maples tapped for sap down here in the south, can that mean spring is right around the corner waiting to turn that corner and grace us with its presence?!

in the garden....


  1. snow day here in montgomery county! the jimster was quite happy.

  2. Hi Tina,
    We are having another snow day also, our local newspaper counted 9 and today makes 10. Portland already went over the season record by 1'' in January. The plow people are becoming overwelmed. (making LOTS of money).
    I unpacked Mrs Claus, it is not tagged, the angel is and I believe it is a set, sure looks like a Averill face/eyes. Stand is 51/2'' wide with a millmeter screw for the center. Any musical base company should have it. Thought Mom wanted to know.
    We have so many sugar maple sapping up here, I've thought of doing it, big thing in my area and we have serviced the cookers. I have a big sugar by the driveway and it gets the most beautiful scarlet red in the fall.
    Format has changed today, is it the leaf or google? Will try and figure it out. Can do it w/o url.

  3. Tina I think any maple can get some sap but where it is not cold enough you can't get enough to do it commercialy.

    Dawn I will ask Joanne to check the angel for a tag. When I spent the day researching I was not looking for the base. I was looking for the whole thing as I did not have a clue as to what to look for in the base as in size, ect. Figured the whole thing would tell me that. As I remember I think the color of the base was an off white. I did not buy them as a set but got them all at the same time, I think, but had to buy them seperately. I do know that much. I do remember that for the day they were a higher priced Christmas item. And on a soldier's
    salary, esp back then, I probably should not have bought them but now feel it was worth it. They have graced my house every year for at least 41 years at Christmas time till this past Christmas and when I put my stuff out I said oh no I still have a box somewhere cause they were missing and then I remembered I gave them to you girls
    after Christmas the year before.

  4. Snow day in TN today --okay so not alot of snow like Dawn with peaches --but we'll take our ice and snow flurries so we can move onto spring:) Sorry you all are getting hammered so hard with snow --it is fun at first but then gets old fast. Poor kiddos will be toting books to school on the fourth of July up that way if this winter keeps up. This is only our second day off for winter-like conditions. Tina, I love maple syrup --I never realized anyone did it around here. Hubby and his family did it back up in his homestate --close to Canada. He said there is nothing like it but it took alot of syrup. Not sure exactly how it works but I will look into that today since it's a day off and gotta love the internet. Have fun --

  5. I love Maple Syrup! YUM...
    I have seen this done only on TV programs and they used the buckets.

    We had a Silver maple that grew too close to the house and allowed the squirrels to get on the roof plus it was diseased so it had to come down. The Yellow Belly Sap Sucker loved it each winter when he showed up. Tree had holes all over it. At times we would see the squirrels sucking the sweet juice out of the hole the woodpecker had drilled. Was funny.... the holes from the woodpecker may be why it became diseased…

    Gloomy looking today without the sun in the sky but no snow or ice as we are in the 60's...

  6. Hi Guys,
    We use mostly buckets up here, I've also seen plastic tubing traveling aLLLong way to join the trees together, or if it is on a slope, people join the sapping together to come to one barrel. The sap is like water and it is boiled down for days in giant cookers, they have gas coils under them, this is what thickens them up. Some sugar maybe added. People here put the syrup in canning jars. They sell well and we have friends that make a side income on it. Its good.
    Mom, if you look on Ebay under Averill you will see the matching faces. National artcraft has the wood bases, metal turntables (for rotating movement) and even the shafts, everything. I don't know if it has the music box is inside or if it came from the base. The site has both parts. I'm really sure its Averill and as I mentioned, I saw the angel at a flea mkt and realllly resisted buy it. Should of. Too bad you threw the bases away, Averills phonogragh is worth quite abit, soooo, if the music comes from inside, these are too. I would of dated these to the late 60's because she stopped designing in the early 70's. Oh i could just ramble on about these people, have to stop now. Later, have curtains to hang. Finally stopped snowing, another 8'',running out of places to put it. Oay vey.

  7. I forgot, anonymous, being from up here and close to Canada, are you familar with fireweed? Its a beautiful wildflower from Canada, was going to tell Tina about it then discovered it was Canadian. Lovely pics on the net, it was our first flower, made it thru all the digging aroud here.

  8. Hi Dawn with peaches --the hubby is from that far north:) I asked but of course he said he never heard of the fireweed --should've asked him when hunting season was, rofl. I'll have to ask his mom since she is an avid gardener. We still haven't gone anywhere unless outback for more firewood counts:) I'm sure the roads are okay but why chance it --I do need milk for these growing boys though --so sometime today I WILL have to leave the house and venture out --still trying to convince hubby to go get it:) Hahahah I'm making myself laugh here --he worked late last night so he is in relax mode. He had to help a lady get her car back on the road last night -she went off. I was so proud that he actually stopped after pulling a 10 hour shift:) See he is a good guy:0)

  9. Love maple syrup,the trees are priceless for their beauty. Didn't know they sapped so far South. I thought that was a new england thing. Have seen it on tv.

    Rainy & cool here. Another day can't do in garden. Got plants coming so must get things ready. I have a fiberglass half whiskey barrel that I plan to put these plants in. I thought Paniacum 'Shenandoah', Gaillardia 'Fanfare', & Echinacea 'Vintage Wine' would look good in this planter. I think that I also could put smaller plants at base to fill. Plan to get more barrels as I think dwarf fruit trees would do ok in them.
    What do you think, Tina? Plans so will see.

    Tina, Dawn, Anonymous, sorry you guys have so much snow, but Spring is just around the corner. Down here I look for the Pecan trees to bud out. That is when Spring is here.

    Very informative blog. I didn't know they had gone to using plastic receivers. That would look funny as all are used to buckets. But I'm for anything that will collect that wonderful tasting syrup.

  10. anonymous aka Lola

  11. Dawn With Peaches,
    Down here in the South we fire Corn with hot coils for days and call it White Lightening or Moonshine! LOL

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. We did get some snow during the night but been raining since at least 9am. On the beauty of being near the ocean!!!!

    Guess everyone loves the maple syrup. But it is one of those things that unless you are willing to pay the price for good ole New England made you do not have a clue. My brother always liked it and would get some when he came to Maine so years ago I started putting a big jug in his Christmas bos but did'nt last year because he found out last year he has a sugar problem.

    Anonymous your husbby has to be a good guy to catch you!!

    Now Skeeter that is funny!!! Want me to send some empty sryup jugs (the good stuff comes in jugs)?

    Dawn the base was metal and not as big around as the botton of the Santa's or Angel and as I remember they did not have a key. You wound the Santa or agnel up tight on the base and I don't have a clue if the music came from the base or doll part. But either way I suspect if they were made by Averill they would surely be worth a little even without the base. That is why I gave them to you kids. When I am gone I know with all the packrat stuff some good stuff will get thrown out. That always happens in families.

    Tina you been quite...are you busy with the little cuties?

  14. yes mom, a little busy. i had a test in school last night and another one tonight. i am not prepared so i will not talk long. baby went back in this morning. complications from the parvo. she could not defecate or urinate so they are doing xrays and ultrasound. will find out later what is up. i am hoping some laxative will help. she was eating and drinking normally, just nothing came out later. they were so good last night and have been bunches of fun. we are all adjusting to each other and since mr. fix it is on vacation this week, they are getting attached to him, and him to them! and he was worried about me!

    lola, i am glad you told us it was you as i was wondering how i would do anonymous 1 & 2. i kind of thought it was you.

    it is neat they harvest the syrup down here. this post will be in the paper tomorrow and the editor is happy it is a short one. i must try to cut my writing down. sometime stuff gets cut out in the paper.

    dawn with peaches, i will look up fireweed. you mentioned it to me before or was that another plant? the one that grows by your driveway?

    skeeter, don't you have to boil down white lightening too? lol mom, don't get any ideas-no sending jugs to skeeter now.

    anonymous, many people in town lost their trampolines. someone advertised on freecycle free mat and springs as the storm damaged the frame. those trampolines can fly like parachutes given the right conditions.

    gotta go hit the books for a few minutes before i head off to school. see ya all later.

  15. I'd love to be able to tap into the back yard tree to get something for the pancakes. Interesting post! I don't think the temperature has risen much today. Cold, cold, and more cold.

  16. Skeeter, we need to turn up our heat because of stuttering from the chill, much moonshine down south, your repeating!!! LOL. Just kidding.

  17. Hi Dawn --you are too much, lol. So, Skeeter is it moonshine time in your neck of the woods? Geez, my hubby is getting more and more interested in these posts, hahaha. Hi Jean, it sounds like you have some good collections --my hubby sold quite a few things on Ebay years ago and did quite well. Of course, his stuff was all guy type stuff but having him clean out a little stuff was nice. He likes to pack and save --I like to get rid of what I don't need:) Sometimes I get rid of stuff and then need it, hehehe. Hi Lola, sorry I just like being anonymous:) I think it's a pretty cool screen name:0) I might think up a screen name one of these days.
    Hi Tina, I know you are busy with those little furballs. I'm sure your two guys are having just as much fun with them as you. I hope you did well on your tests --I'm actually certain you did quite well. The kiddos can't wait for tomorrow --they love the candy-day --Valentines Day. It's funny they get so excited about it --they wrote out cards for each other and kept them hid --tomorrow at breakfast they will give them to each other. Well, I wrote a book too much time tonight with everyone happily getting to bed. Night!

  18. trying to figure this out so I don't have to use anonymous. The selection has changed & I'm trying to figure it out. Don't know what NAME/URL means or OPENID. Anyone got any suggestions?

  19. i think i may have an answer for the new format on the blogger comment section. the garden blogs have had a lot of talk about it and bloggers new format is controversial on some blogs.

    mainly it is still the same for you commenters. the name/url is for your name and your link to your blog if you want to embed your blog link in a comment. a common habit with blogs NOT published on an ftp like the leaf's blogs and my 'in the garden'.

    i think open id is the same deal. there are different accounts you can use to leave a comment. all of this is to make it easier for the blogger and other readers of the blog to link back to you if you have a blog or web address. i think it also has to do with 'blogrolling', again, linking to other blogs.

    the whole point is to make communication easier and to up traffic for a website or web address, including blogs.

    you all should still be able to comment as before. anonymous, if you want to change your name then just type in your screen name and it should work fine. i haven't tried it as i don't want to post as someone other than me on here.

  20. actually, i did try it and it worked fine with just my name and no url. the open id is again accounts. if you have a blogger account you also have a profile. the profile has certain stats about you. some bloggers make it public and some don't make it available. mine is public. if you click on my name it will take you to my profile. this is another stat tool for the blogger or website administrator.

    if you click on dave or jean's name it will tell you their profile is not yet available. this may be by choice or by not knowing what you have to do to make it available. if you click on my blue name or skeeter's you can go to our profiles. if you choose just the name option as i just did with my last comment then the link is closed and you will maintain privacy.

    most of you could choose the name option with any name you want as you all don't have websites. it is a personal choice and is strictly for networking on the web. check it out.

  21. hi dave, dawn with peaches and anonymous,
    i didn't even realize all of the comments when i responded to anonymous.

    dave, it is cold cold cold. but it is supposed to warm up tomorrow. yay! i should be in the garden.

    dawn with peaches, you are very funny, i agree with anonymous.

    anonymous, are you going to get a screen name?! let me guess, pruner gal? surprise lady? or maybe c? whatever you decide is fine with us all as we know you as anonymous already.

    tell hubby and the kids i say hello. i hope you will come by soon and see the pups. the vet said tonight things are looking better for baby. he got a stool sample and they did give her a laxative so hopefully we'll have some movement tonight and she can come home with her brother and sister. she really needs the attention. i took them to see gerianne and her daughter today after the vet today and they were so good. ttyl
    p.s. i did really well on tonight's test, but not last nights. boo hoo.

  22. hi nina, hope you are staying as warm as lola down in florida and maybe even as warm as skeeter in georgia.

  23. Anonymous, Yup I am a packrat. One reason is because I learned early on that every time I got rid of something I or someone would want or need it. However, I have gotten rid of many things that I sould not have. Then again it may just be genetic as both my parents were packrats. Packratmimi is my screen name on my game sites. The Mimi is what my grandkids call me.

    Also was wondering if you got something on your window to keep the birds safe. If not I saw a thing in the Walter Drake catalog that is for that purpose. It is static clings to put on window. They come in a set of 8 for $7.99 and come in either hummingbirds or Butterflies. Item #102-00749

  24. hey mom, you are on here late. you are a packrat, and got two kids who are also like that. and two who are not. so i guess 50/50. so many people are afraid of giving up stuff for fear we will not only need it but we won't be able to buy it again. i think that and the sentimental reasons are why we hold on to things. ttyl gotta hit the sack.

  25. Good Morning Tina, I just did a comment and it didn't post, so hope this isn't a duplicaiton!

    It was too cold yesterday to go anywhere so I did some "spring" cleaning and threw away some junk. Jean I have alway said the definition of junk is "something you throw away the day before you need it".

    Dawn, last summer while traveling through Alaska and Canada we saw a
    lot of the fireweed flowers or at least we were told that it was called fireweed. It was very pretty. I was also told that I could probably find some seed in a gift shop, but didn't look for any didn't think it would grow in our growing zone!

    Tina, I had no idea that there was any sugar tapping going on in this part of the country. I thought it all came from Maine. Very interesting post. Glad you did o.k. on you test. I still don't know how you get it all done!

  26. Exactly Nina on the junk.

    That was a big trip, bet is was lotsa fun. We have friends that used to go to Alaska fishing and they loved it so much they bought some land and have built on it. He is sorta retired so spends quite a bit of time there now but is wife is much younger so still works so only goes about a month each year. The photos they show us are great.

    Also, Maine does produce a lot of sryup but I think Vermont does the most or at least I think they are the most famous for it. Now that I have said that I am not sure.
    Maybe I will research that as now I am wondering.

  27. Jean, I believe you are right!

    Yes, we did have a great trip and would do it again someday, if health permits.

  28. good morning nina and mom,
    my internet was down this morning so i am late getting my post out. sorry.

    i need to do some spring cleaning as well nina. throw a bunch of stuff away. i lie awake at night and think of plants i can move and to me that is spring cleaning. lol

    i will look up that fireweed. sounds cool. i haven't looked as yet but i think dawn is going to send me something.

    mom, have you ever bought fresh maple syrup from the producers right there? like you can cider and apples? i wonder if it tastes different than store bought. i know honey straight from the beehive tastes JUST like it does in a bottle at the store. an acquantance here in town has bee hives and geri, claire, jimmy and i went over. i am still kicking myself i didn't take my camera and do a post. i will probably go back sometime as i think he wouldn't mind. but really it tastes the same. i wonder about maple syrup.

    baby is still doing just fine in the hospital. she has not gone but is acting normal, eating and drinking. they want to watch her one more day. i really want to get her back here as she is not happy and it is hard for them to thrive at the vets. bruiser and cj had their second shots yesterday and are doing fine.

    i am attending an all day workshop on turfgrasses tomorrow. look for an upcoming post on grasses, along with treehouses, night lighting, community garden (gotta get some pictures) and so on. ttyl

  29. Thanks bunches for the info Tina. It worked so hopefully I'm back on track.