Saturday, April 19, 2014
Last weekend was the "Sugaring Off Festival" in St. Pierre-Jolys. This is to learn about and celebrate the production of maple syrup. I've wanted to go and do this for a long time - probably since the first time I read "Little House in the Big Woods". Very long ago. Kim and Glenda had taken their kids before but now it was our time to join in the fun.
And it was fun. But, it wasn't all that I dreamed it would be…. thanks to the longest, coldest and snowiest winter in 116 years (actually, the latest news is that it has been the coldest in 116 years, but I don't really know about the longest or snowiest. quite frankly, I'm fine with the snowiest and it certainly seems like the longest). Usually spring has sprung and so the sap starts running, but as you will see in a picture below - there is not a drop of sap dripping from the spigots. Turns out that they had to have sap shipped in from Quebec (the head-cahuna of mapledom). I kinda wanted to see the big huge caldrons of sap being boiled forever and hear the explanation of the whole process, but that didn't happen (I could always reread Laura's version….). Regardless, there was plenty of maple deliciousness to be found in sights, smells and tastes. The first and most important being maple taffy.
Hot syrup is poured on snow, allowed to cool and rolled onto popsicle sticks. All of this is done at the Sugar Shack - Cabane á Sucre (á francises - or whatever).
Side note: It is time that you understand that there are two type of communities where we live: French and Mennonite. There are either very French sounding towns like: La Broquerie, Saint Adolf, Ile des Chénes and La Salle or Mennonite: Grunthal, Kleefeld, Blumenort and, of course, the Meca of Mennonite: Steinbach. By the way, everyone is kind, they all get along, respect each other and all that, but there isn't too much interaction.
At the ol' Maison Goulet (maison = house), they demonstrated how to make yummy baked goods, including delicious buns. They also made hand-churned butter. Oh my word, can I just tell you how much better homemade butter is? Seriously. It is so good. So, so good.
Mia was being harassed by Auntie Kim, but I'm pretty sure she deserved it…..
And then we had a lovely ride. Well, all of us except Alex and Maddy. They decided to go and warm up in the car. Only they didn't only warm up in the car. They also followed us on our ride a little while - and then went on their own ride. The hooligans!
Spotting the girls following us….
Jesse decided to text them to tell them to leave us alone - or something like that.
After our lovely ride, we went to the museum. They had a room set up as an old classroom, so everyone promptly sat down and pretended. One of the ladies working there decided that she should pretend to - so she gave us 1890s (or something) French school lessons - math, verb conjugation, etc. We excelled, of course. We are all so bilingual. Or in my case, quadralingual…. or even more.
Kim was kind of messing up most everything - rookie. Pretty sure she would have got her knuckles rapped pretty stinking hard if she laughed like that in school back in 1890!
You'll notice that Alex and Maddy are conspicuously absent from these pictures. They think they are too cool for school. Literally… get it? HA! Did you catch that puniness I just threw at you? HA! I'm hilarious.
Okay, definitely time for bed…..