Sunday, March 18, 2012

Maple Syrup Day

It was a beautiful, sunny, record breaking, 80 degree day in East Central Illinois, so what does my family do?....We go to a hot shed and watch how maple syrup is made. It's a natural assumption, I know.  It was actually a lot of fun and anywhere there is a potential for food, I call it a good time. 

It's maple syrup time in the Midwest, unfortunately the sap collecting time was cut short this year because of the warm weather surge we have been experiencing.  The best collection times are when temps are in the 20's at night and 40's during the day.  Lucky for us, we haven't seen a day like that in quite a while, but it's very unlucky for the maple syrup producers. 
This is the Sugar Bush at Forest Glen Preserve.  This is where the magic happens....or the sweating for me.
And here is how we found our way to it...

Not really, I just like taking pictures of signs.

Here are the unfortunate men that had to stay in the Sugar Bush and talk about it repeatedly all day long...I guess they drew the short straw.  It was probably 90 degrees in there today, but I have to give them credit, they knew their maple syrup. They even let us taste some...yummy!

We learned that it takes 50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup...thus the reason it is so costly to purchase...but oh so worth it!

Ben got a little bored when the hubby and I were asking questions...
Next we took off down the hill to buy some of the delicious syrup before they ran out. They sell the syrup in the Nature Center..and it's a little boys dream.  All kinds of creepy dead stuff laying around. The boys thought it was, not so much.

After Momma got her maple syrup, we went to see if the boys could get their fingers pecked off by a turkey.  Lucky for us they failed...
So, we headed back up the hill ...
...and yes, we gained two children along the way.  Two boys that attend our church happened to be there too, so we became a party of six for a little while.

This is the Pioneer Homestead.  My boys love it, they wish we could live here.  I loved it because they had cookies inside today..and sassafras tea, it was all delicious. are more unfortunate people who had to sit by a fire in a log cabin on an eighty degree day.  They didn't seem too upset about it.
Ben informed me that there was nothing cool upstairs, so I didn't need to go up there..  Thanks Ben.

I had to take a picture of the old's beautiful.

On our way back to the car the boys had to check out a tap bucket..
Chris just had to look inside.

We finally made it back to the cool car.  This is my tired baby as we pulled out of the parking lot...
And here he is 3 minutes later..
All in all we had a wonderful afternoon at our local county preserve.  I encourage you to go out and enjoy your local county and/or state parks often.  These people work hard to educate the public and maintain these parks for us to enjoy.  If you would like to read more about the maple syrup day or check out what else Forest Glen County Preserve has to offer, please click here.

Disclaimer :  My husband and I want to make sure everyone knows that we are in no way Cubs fans.  My 5 year old has been brainwashed by his Papaw and we can't convince him otherwise, so we do not take responsibility for his choice in clothing for these pictures.  He loves to torture me with his t-shirt. Ugh.  GO CARDS!!


  1. What a great story! I loved all of the pictures!

    1. Those are my comments. I didn't know what profile to pick. MARVA

  2. Thanks for sharing your Maple Syrup Outing! I had forgotten all about this, and it brought back fond memories of doing the same with my grandparents. I had forgotten about the cabin and everything and how much I used to go there with them and my aunt. Hope your boys (and you and Adam) had fun!

    1. Thanks Michelle, we had a lot of fun. I'm so glad it brought back good memories for you!

  3. Love the blog, Valerie! Soon you'll be famous like The Pioneer Woman and then we can all say that we knew you before you were famous. Glad your sister talked you into starting this. Kelly F

    1. Thanks Kelly! And thanks for reading!