Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sugar Camp!

On Feb. 27, we were fortunate enough to get to go to Sugar Camp, a free hands-on morning with costumed guides sponsored by our county parks system. It was so much fun! The camp was from 10-11:30 AM, so we went before his afternoon kindergarten class. We had lunch with friends after camp, then off to school!
We learned how maple syrup is made and how this was done in the 1790's by both Native Americans and settlers. The group was limited to about 20 and the weather was beautiful. The sap was running freely!
We were able to drink sap from cups, straight from the tree. I thought it would be sticky and thick, but it was just like water, with a hint of sweetness to it.
We sampled the end result, delicious maple syrup!

We watched wooden spiles being made, and Jonathan got to help make one and to bring it home with him.

We followed our guide through the woods to the trees to collect the sap. Also, we got to help hammer the spile into the trees, carry sap back to camp and collect firewood.
Following our guide

Holding the hammer to put the spile in the tree

Showing the kids how to identify a maple tree when there are no leaves

Collecting sap

Collecting firewood

Building a fire

With his friends in a wiki

The sap is boiled into syrup in these kettles
We sampled venison sausage and eggs cooked over a wood fire. It was surprisingly good!

I don't know which one of us had more fun! I would highly recommend this to anyone! It would be a great class for children who are homeschooled and I will absolutely take him out of class for the morning if they do this next year. A photographer from the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer was there taking pictures, and guess who was in the newspaper the following day?

The camp was open to the public on Saturday so we went back for a little while after his bug class. It was much colder Saturday! There were lots of demos: blacksmiths, weavers, and more. He got to make a cornhusk doll (with a little help) and knitted a bookmark all by himself using straws and his fingers.
The blacksmith and his tinker's cart


His cornhusk doll and bookmark

I am so happy to be in area that offers such great free programs. I am sure most areas do, I just never searched for them until I had Jonathan. What fun we have!!


Wendi said...

That is a fantastic outing! I need to search for some fun, free things to do.

How cool that Jonathan made the paper!

Kathy said...

Wendi, you are not too far away to join us next year!:)

Shelley said...

Looks like a wonderful time...children need this sort of thing in this day of instant is a blessing to have something such as this offered to the public and for free...thanks so much for sharing...blessings

Brenda said...

What a great experience for Jonathan!!
Fun and educational! I loved seeing Jonathan's picture in the paper too!