Archive for December 17th, 2008

Chilly and Cold

December 17, 2008

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Winter has arrived in southern California.  Snow in the mountains has closed I-5 and I-15.  At 2:30, the temperatures are in the 30’s and l0w 40’s–that’s pretty cold for a place that you can usually get by wearing sandals all year.

Not only is the snow in the passes outside of LA, but it is also in the local mountains.  If it clears tomorrow, it will be a great day for Chamber of Commerce photos–palm trees in the foreground, snow-covered mountains in the background, and no smog in between.

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National Maple Syrup Day

December 17, 2008
Maple Trees outside of Montpelier, Vermont

Maple Trees outside of Montpelier, Vermont

Someone decided that today is National Maple Syrup Day. That’s just fine with me. I’ve grown the enjoy it. In days gone by, when someone would give us a gift of maple syrup, it was under appreciated. Our kids liked the “real stuff,” that being Log Cabin syrup.

We have vacationed in New England twice in 3 years. We brought home maple syrup both times and have enjoyed every drop. This July, we visited an old-time sugar house outside of Montpelier, Vermont. It was interesting seeing the traditional methods used to make syrup.

Sugaring Equipment

Sugaring Equipment

The maple trees are tapped and the sap that is removed almost has the consistency of water. It is boiled down to create the syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce a gallon of syrup.

40 to 1

40 to 1

More Sugaring Equipment

More Sugaring Equipment

Maple syrup comes in several grades. The lightest is produced at the beginning of the season and then it gets darker and stronger. We like Grade A Medium Amber the best. Nature determines when the grades change. The final grade is Grade B which is very dark and really too strong for table use.  Once the maple trees begin to bud, the sap is no longer good for syrup.

So go cook a short stack or maybe “stay up late, swapping manly stories, and in the morning, . . .  make waffles!”