Monday, 1 July 2019

Celebrate the Magic of Maple Syrup this Summer…

By the beginning of March, when nights are still cold, daytime warmth intensifies, and icicles start to drip, the residents of Fairy Falls know this can mean only one thing—it’s ‘sugar time’! And as long as Mother Nature and the weather cooperate, the sap starts to run, flowing through the maple trees to feed them. So when you see the smoke rising from Gertie Ellis’ sugar shack well into the night, you just know that spring is here.

Making maple syrup is a part of our North American heritage. Maple trees grow in many parts of the world but maple syrup is only made in certain parts of Canada and the United States. It was the native people who first began making maple syrup as a source of sweetening; they introduced it to the first settlers, who came to rely on it as a sweetener as well, until refined sugar became available. The secret of making maple syrup is to remove the water until the sugar content is about 66 percent. If one wants maple sugar, more water must be removed.

We’ve come a long way from tapping trees with hand-carved wooden spiles and boiling sap in large cast-iron pots suspended from tripods. Nowadays, larger operations have stainless steel evaporators, large holding tanks, and sap collection systems utilizing food-grade plastic tubing attached to plastic spiles, drawing sap from each tree and carrying it to holding tanks. If the slope of the land allows, gravity might be sufficient to transport the sap to the evaporator, but other devices such as pumps or a vertical system of tubing called a ‘sap ladder’, can supplement it. Wood is still used to fuel fires; perhaps as much as one cord of wood is needed to produce one gallon of syrup. It’s no wonder this golden nectar is so expensive!

Quality is the goal of the conscientious producer. Not all maple syrup is the same. There are several grades of syrup—the lightest being the syrup produced earliest in the season. As the season progresses, the syrup becomes darker in color and the flavor becomes stronger. Choosing a grade is a matter of personal preference.

Some would say, it is the quintessential comfort food. It’s not just for pancakes—try pouring it over bran muffins, hot from the oven, split and dripping with melting butter, or drizzled on ice cream, rice pudding or oatmeal porridge. Once you start enjoying this delicacy, the possibilities are endless. And, a bottle of maple syrup is a great gift—a delight to the palate and a delicious taste of Fairy Falls. So if you get a chance, stop by Gertie Ellis’ booth at the Fairy Falls’ Farmers Market and celebrate cottage country, sweetly!

Here's a taste of Blackflies and Blueberries, the second installment of Mysterious Tales from Falls teen psychic mystery series…

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:
Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:


  1. Nothing like good maple syrup on pancakes! Awesome post! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

    1. So true, Lisa! You're very welcome, and thanks so much for stopping by to comment! Cheers!