Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Sometimes events in our life are living art and capturing those moments is a challenging task. This is the story of some of those moments.

Although I was born and have lived in this region much of my life, I had never before visited 'the sugarbush'. This year I decided it was time I experienced it. In March we visited Matthew's Maple Syrup.

Entry sign at Matthew's Maple Syrup on a mild, sunny day! From the left, our youngest child Victoria, myself and DH, David.

This is the syrup processing barn. Matthew's uses reverse osmosis for most of the condensing of the sap into syrup. The final process is a heat process. Inside the barn there is also a shop where visitors can purchase maple syrup, maple candy, maple sugar, maple jellies, sauces and more.

Under the blue canopy, Mrs. Matthew's poured syrup onto a tray of ice and we twirled it onto small wooden paddles to create a toffee pop. It was delicious!!!

This is the way the trees are tapped, into a miles long web of gravity drained lines. These lead into the larger gravity fed main line.

This is the main sap line to the processing barn. The line is about three inches in diameter and you can see and hear the sap running, by gravity, down to the barn.

Historically, sap was collected in buckets hanging on taps, which would be put in anew, with a hand drill, each season. It was quite an undertaking in a large operation. The sap would be collected in a huge tank, pulled around on a sled, by work horses. Then it would be brought to a boiler which was fueled by a wood fire. It would have been gruelling work! This photo is of Matthew's Opening Tree Tapping Ceremony this year. This gentleman is drilling a tap hole.

Installing the tap.

Hanging the sap bucket.

Putting on the cover to keep out rain, snow melt, creatures and contaminants.

Is the sap running yet?

One of the Matthew's beautiful dogs.

Old fashioned sap boiling. That kettle was constantly at a rollicking, rolling boil, fuelled by a roaring, wood fire.

The First Nations people processed their sap by filling a dugout log with sap, then adding hot rocks from the fire. This boiled the sap and reduced the sap to syrup, or even to sugar.

Push and Shove, mother and son sleigh horses. Both stunningly magnificent!

Sugar Bush sleigh ride pulled by Push and Shove. Historically, this sled would be pulling the sap tank, not visitors!

New Friends! Victoria and Push.

Visit Matthew's Maple Syrup at http://matthewsmaple.com for more information about the history and operation of their sugar bush, maple syrup and their products.

If you get the opportunity to visit a sugar bush, take advantage of it. Making maple syrup is a practice that is centuries old and no matter how it is done, it is part magic and completely amazing!

Prints, cards and other items featuring some of my photographs from our adventure will be available at http://www.zazzle.com/dequilla*.

Following our visit to Matthew's, we tapped the maple trees on our property and I made my own maple syrup! But that's another post . . . stay tuned! ;D


  1. Very interesting and a place I probably will never see. Nicely done.

  2. On occasions like this, I miss the North. I miss grist mills and full-fledged Halloween.