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Labour of Love

The art of turning sweet water into liquid gold takes lots of hard work. What’s the magic number which tells us how many buckets of sap make one bucket of syrup? 

At our gathering this morning we reflected on the importance of trees, specifically the Maple tree. We recognized that it gives us shade, its sap is tasty and we can make syrup or taffy out of its sap. What are some other reasons to be grateful for Maple trees?

What is a sugar bush? This time of year the sap is 'running'  but where does the sap actually come from? What are the tools we use to tap trees?

Mr. Maple (Philip) shared the tale of the sap to syrup journey in the special way of an actor, drawing us into the drama. Check out the learning happening and ask your child to share their new understandings about this amazing process.

Squirrels are known to lick sap from trees in order to get the water they need to survive.  Squirrels also make homes in trees called dreys and often they pick a large Maple tree. What kinds of natural materials were used to make a squirrel home? As squirrels the kids used their dreys store the food and water they collected. What predator came into the game and was looking for some tasty squirrels to 'eat'?  What was your strategy for survival? Congrats to Larch our star squirrel who used a strategy which included stealing from a nearby drey.

Wander time began and we started to feel the warmth of the sun. While at Butterfly Hill, there were wooden spile makers, tree climbers, and some fantastic cooks and bakers in the kitchen.

Grey Squirrel, our favourite librarian, is always tricky. What game did she play with us today using sappy words? Who won the contest - the kids or Grey Squirrel? Can you recall some of the words shared and the one word we didn’t get? (temperature). The hard math problem we solved in girl/boy groups tells about how much sap is needed to make 9L of maple syrup. Anyone know how we use multiplication or addition to solve this problem? (40L sap x 9L syrup OR 40+40+40+40+40+40+40+40+40=360)

Yo can’t just hear about how much work it takes, you have to experience it! Coyote dreamt up a sap to syrup relay game which got us all sweating. What was your role in the game and how much sap did you need to move to the evaporator? (10L) The prize related to a story about what Coyote’s dad called maple syrup….LIQUID GOLD! Congratulations to Firefly, Hawk and Beaver for winning the gold coins. Everyone definitely deserved a treat, yummy maple candies:) 

The whittling work is almost done, just adding some finishing touches like handles, straight edge cuts and some carved designs. Trees give us gifts which our hands can make into beautiful things. This is a lesson in how skills can be honed with time and patience. They are almost ready!

To end the day, we visited our little sugar bush. There was sap dripping in the buckets and we got to taste it. Ask your child about how it tasted. ( It tasted a bit musty and a bit sweet but mostly like water. Mr Maple surprised us with a parting gift, a taste from last year's crop and showed us an oriole nest that he found around his home. It was such a unique shape. 

We are so grateful to community members who take time to share their experience with our kids. It was great to have Raccoon back capturing our day in photos, Tamarack and Willow who are never afraid to jump right into the action, and Heron who is learning our ways to share at her own school. Today was all about things that are worth doing, labours of love. From tapping trees to building leafy dreys, running your hardest race, figuring out that difficult problem, or handcrafting your first walking stick. When we have the perseverance and motivation, we can do anything! Lesson learned:)


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