Sunday, March 30

A Visit to the Sugar Bush

Every year, Mom and I try to take the boys to the sugar bush. We sample the syrup, learn about maple syrup and maple sugar making, visit the old time buildings in the pioneer village and have lunch - pancakes, sausage and real maple syrup. We like to take them during March Break but this year was too cold and nasty. Today was the last day for the Maple Syrup Festival and the weather was to be nice so we planned to go.

The weather cooperated as much as we could have expected it to. I was windy and a bit chilly but not so bad that we were uncomfortable. We arrived at Westfield Heritage Village about 11:30.
The first thing we saw, above, was the old cast iron kettle on the tripod. This is a tough way to make maple syrup, as it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, but this is the way that maple syrup was made in the pioneer days. Before that, Native Canadians made maple syrup by felling a tree, burning it out to make a trough and putting hot rocks in the sap to make it boil. How times have changed.

We were waiting for the horse and wagon to take us to the sugar bush and Jordan was happy. Brandon, on the other hand, thought we should walk. He was impatient to get there. He also didn't want his photo taken at this time. Notice the hand up to block my view.
Before long we saw the horse and wagon coming. Being a farm girl, I love the seeing the team. Here is the driver coming to let one group of people off and pick another group up.
He let us off at the path to the sugar bush. Believe it or not the ride wasn't too bumpy. It's been far worse other years.
Above is the maple trees with the sap buckets attached. I can remember helping Grandpa tap the trees and it was a lot of work. I loved it. We never thought of it as work, but fun. Of course we were kids.
Here is Jordan checking the sap bucket to see how much sap is in it. Mom was with him, but she stepped back just as I took the photo. I love her hat.
There goes Mom and Jordan turned around and asked me to take his picture. He isn't usually so willing. Maybe it was the different environment or maybe he just wanted some memories of the sugar bush. He asked me to print him some photos and I told him I would. I think I'll make him a little album for his birthday.

Here is Brandon. He was way ahead of us and was waiting, not too patiently by the sugar shanty.

Jordan and I looked in one of the sap buckets and the sap was frozen in the bottom. That is frozen sap you are seeing.
I went to take a photo of Brandon who was hiding behind a tree and he started to run. Grandma was too fast for him. I got him in mid stride. LOL

Here are more sap buckets on the sugar maples. I love the shadows on the snow. The wood on the ground will be used to fire up the stove in the sugar shanty. The heat has to be very intense if you want good maple syrup. The best maple syrup is a golden color. Darker syrup doesn't have the keen maple taste.

Here is a volunteer making maple syrup. Notice the pans are stainless steel nowadays. When I was young they were galvanized tin. These are not used anymore, as galvanized tin allowed a lot of heavy metal to leach into the syrup.

Jordan asked me to take another photo of him tasting his sample of maple syrup. I obliged.

Brandon is inspecting the sap bucket to see how full it is. Finally, he's getting into the swing of things.

He even posed for both Mom and I to take a photo. His Dad and Grandpa have him brainwashed about having his picture taken. LOL Neither of them like it so I guess he things men shouldn't want to have their picture taken.

After we were educated on how maple syrup is made, we headed into the village proper. For you ladies that like tea, the photo above is of an old fashioned tea house.

And this is the door and sign of the tea house. Maroon and green. I wonder if those are the original colors. They kind of remind me of Victorian colors. And that sign... see the ornate cast iron bracket that holds the sign. I love this type of vintage hardware.

In the village is a train that rusted badly. A few years ago there was a big push to raise money to restore it. I think it was three years ago that the project was finished. That steam engine looks brand new now. It is an original from the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railroad. It's a beauty.

Above is the hardware store. All of these buildings are the originals. I can imagine how full of tools this store would have been in its heyday.

A beautiful gazebo. I love gazebos and would love to have one just like this in my yard. Hubby and I priced one last summer. The price tag floored us. $10,000.

This is where the boys were headed... the General Store. It is open to the public and they have candy and other things for sale. Some things are only for display. Notice the small barrels and crates outside. This is much how it would have looked in days gone by.
Brandon and Jordan waiting to buy some old fashioned candy sticks. They were both being very patient. Notice the mob cap just behind Brandon's right shoulder.

Here is the display again. Notice the old fashioned shoes and the material and baskets on the shelves. These are for display purposes only, but the girl's mob caps are for sale at $5.00 each.

Above is a beautiful vintage glass display case and the Easter display was delightful. I couldn't resist taking a photo of it.

For you ladies who enjoy tea, here is a tea display. Notice the vintage cups. And all the goodies that are in that case look delicious.

The boys choosing their candy sticks. There are so many different kinds to choose from and they had a hard time deciding, which all the children did.

I was going to take a photo of the old one-room school and Jordan wanted to be in it. LOL He sure did like having his photo taken today. Notice the Union Jack flag flying on the school. When the village was in its heyday Canada was under British rule. That was our flag.

Then on toward the village gates. The boys stopped to have their photo taken. Notice the old fashioned style white candy bags.

We had pancakes and sausage with real maple sugar at the restaurant and then on to the parking lot for the ride home. We all enjoyed ourselves and I hope you enjoyed hearing about our day. Have a great week. ~Blessings, Mary~


  1. That is really neat. We have a neighbor that has out his buckets by the trees collecting the sap too. Then down the other way, I see bags hanging on the trees collecting sap. Usually I have only seen plastic buckets. Never have I seen the plastic bags before. Very interesting.

  2. Yum! I wouldn't mind visiting that place in the SUMMER though. You still have snow!!! IKES!!! All in all, it looks like you had a great day and thank you for sharing it. I was able to tour with you so to speak.

  3. I really enjoyed this post my friend, what a wonderful day you all had.

  4. What an excellent adventure you took us on Mary!!! I can taste the sausage and pancakes right now!!! And ohhhhhhhh, to have just a swipe of that REAL maple syrup.....a dream.

    Great photos...and I so enjoyed your trip photos!!

    Happy Monday.

  5. Ps....

    I would also love to find ME some button shoes like from the olden days...ones that fit! LOL

    I posted our Sunday's outing earlier this morning. But it's nothing like your great adventure.

  6. What a day you had...... What a grandmother you are...... I will have grand babies one of these days and I will bring them to your house and let you take them to the sugar bush!!!!!!! ahahhaha and what a grandmother I will be...hahhaha anyway.. those are great pictures... I have never been to such a place and would love to visit one day... those boys will look back on those days and smile....... and I like Hoot would love a pair of button up shoes... and a hot cup of tea .. a hot biscut right out of the oven with a big spoon full of that maple syrup! Great post...

  7. I would love to visit the sugar bush... it looks so interesting...
    isn't the maple sap mostly collected in the winter and spring?
    what a neat outing...
    Mary, you find so many interesting places to take your are a wonderful grandma....

  8. Mary,

    I love this photo/essay of your trip to the sugar bush!! I can see you all had a great time. This is a terrific place. The ride in the horse drawn cart would have been a really big delight for me. LOL

    I got a big kick out of Jordan's sudden desire to have his picture taken!

    Thank you for taking us along on this wonderful outing. :-)


  9. Hi Mary,
    I enjoyed this visit. I didn't see your photo in any of the shots. J went to a festival like this in PA when I was visiting in Alabama. We lived there then. In the South here, they make syrup from Sorgham Cane. I have an old photo of my ancestors doing that. I'll run it if i can find it on the computer.
    I had a breathing treatment at the dr today. I was hoping for a shot but guess she didn't feel I needed one. I am going to use my inhalers more for a few days but I am already breathing better and my coughing is looser. Thanks for your concern.
    Mama Bear

  10. Pancakes and syrup sound good about now. i am at work but will be starting to clean soon so that I can leave...hopefully!!
    What fun everyone had...But I do not enjoy all of that cold weather..especially not anymore.


  11. What a nice outing to the pioneer village. They are fascinating places. I used to enjoy going to black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto. I have preached a couple of times at the church there. I didn't see you mention of a church in your pioneer village!

    I got s glimpse of your mother's hat, worthy of the Queen (so famous for her hats.)

    The Indians used to make pails out of birch bark for their sugaring operations. They would stash them in the bush in a little wigwam along with other sugaring tools ready for the next year.

    I assume you are aware Wednesday is World Altism Day. CNN has been running shows on aultism this week and a special show on Wednesday. I only mention this in case you do not watch CNN

  12. A nice day spent with your family. Thanks for taking me along...LOL

  13. Now that sounds like a great day. My husband loves real maple syrup, and some suppliers back east who keep him supplied when they come to visit him at the plant.

    Love the general store!

  14. Mary, that is one thing I miss living out here on the prairies. I can't go sugaring. I love maple sugar candy, and syrup on pancakes. Oh the memories that your post brought back.

    God bless.

  15. Mary,
    So interesting....I love Maple syrup on Pecan Pancakes or waffles...

    Thank you for visiting and commenting on the 86 year old lady and my 'new look'.....Betty

  16. Hi Mary,
    Sorry I haven't been able to get by more often. I've enjoyed catching up on your news..
    Your Easter sounds wonderful and what a blessing that your Mom, at 80, still does the whole meal.
    Looks like the visit to the sugar bush was a fun and exciting day!

  17. I enjoyed seeing all this! I would have loved going to the tea house!
    I bet those pancakes and real maple syrup was delicious!


  18. I love visiting an old fashioned sugar bush. Most of our local producers now use the pipes to collect the syrup rather than the pails. I do like maple syrup in small doses. The sugar candy is achingly sweet!

  19. That was awesome!
    I felt like I was right there on the tour. What an incredible place to visit--I would have really enjoyed being along on that trip. Yes, even for the pancakes at the end.
    I love all the pictures-great memories.
    I can't help but wonder if they will look back on our times as lovingly as we do about years ago.;)

  20. What a fabulous day! I would love to watch them making syrup.....I've heard about it all my life.

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