Maple Sugaring Through the Eyes of a ChildMarch 31, 2022
By Brandy Miller, Nature’s Nursery Farm Teacher
Outside the brown shack, there’s a man with a fuzzy hat. His gloves wave us toward a large maple tree. There’s snow on the ground and smoke in the air. Under my boots, the ice crunches and the maple tree hugs a plastic bucket. Resting his hand on the tree, the man talks about maple sugaring.
Alive with sap, the tree lets the man drill a hole to share its sap with me. There’s a bucket that catches the sap, and the man tells us that inside his shack is where he cooks it. Pulling a latch, he leads us to where it’s small and warm. Large pots make it feel like a kitchen.
Boiling the sap is important, but the man explains that the fire is too hot for our skin. Raising my hand, I shake my head yes when he asks about pancakes, and I pinch my fingers together as if they are sticky with syrup.
Placing a cup in my hand, he asks if we want to drink maple sugar tea. He smiles and my fingers turn warm. The tea is smooth and it slides inside of my cup. Holding it to my nose, the tea smells like candy. The inside of my mouth turns sweet and I lick my lips.
Turning my head toward the large maple tree, I imagine the sap moving through its body, sliding thick into the bucket. I imagine the man crunching his boots through the cold every day, swinging the bucket through the snow, setting the fire with smoke from the hot pot filling his face.
Click on the arrows above to see highlights of a class trip to Boni-Bel or see the photo album on Flickr
Nature-based lessons at Boni-Bel
Maple sugaring is one of many great nature-based lessons taught at Boni-Bel Farm & Country Store. The farm and retail space offer vocational education opportunities to Green Chimneys School students, too. Plan your visit to purchase a bottle of Green Chimneys maple syrup
This piece is written by Brandy Miller, Nature’s Nursery Farm Teacher. As part of early childhood education offered to families in the greater Putnam County community, Nature’s Nursery provides a wonderful introduction to school. Our caring team pairs sound curricula with engaging nature-based activities to support each child’s growth and development. Learn more about our preschool, bridge, and kindergarten programs