Sunday, April 22, 2012

Maine Maple Weekend

Maine has a wonderful tradition called, "Maine Maple Sunday", where all of the maple syrup producers in the area open their doors to visitors, often including maple samples and tours of their facilities.  It is commonly on a Sunday, so we missed it last year.  This year, though, some friends invited us to go with them on Saturday, so I packed the children in the car and we headed up North!

(Unfortunately the Mr. was working, so we took lots of pictures to show him later...)

First stop - Hilltop Boilers

We met our friends at the Hilltop Boiler maple farm.  We started out our visit with a Scavenger Hunt - each child was supposed to fill it in with pictures or descriptions to answer various questions about things they saw around the farm.

Of course, we had to climb all over the various tractors around the farm!

We also got to have a tour of the facility, where they showed us the boilers and explained all about how they make maple syrup.  It smelled sooooooo good!

The highlight of the visit, of course, (well, for me, at least) was the samples!  They had pancakes with maple syrup, maple cream with pretzels, ice cream with maple syrup (yum!!) and, my personal favorite, maple fudge.  Heaven!!!

We visited the animals (cows, calves and pigs) and learned that Wiggles is TERRIFIED of barns (at least that one!)

We listened to some great Christian country music (I think you would call it....) - Red Flannel Hash.  I even caught Wiggles dancing on video! :)

Sap Lugging Contest - The farmer gave each child a bucket of 'sap' (water), and they were supposed to run all the way to the bale of hay, around it, and back.  If they returned in under 14 seconds (without spilling any sap), they won the prize.  All of our children did very well - Grins ran it in 14 seconds, and Angel surprised us all by coming in at 13 seconds and winning her very own (huge!) Maple Whoopie Pie!  Apparently, our kids were born to run (like their daddy!).

Angel wins the prize!
We were having so much fun, the children and I decided to head over to another nearby Maple Farm - Sugar Hill Boilers.  (Since we had an hour drive back home, none of us were anxious to climb back in the car quite yet!)  There, we got to sample some maple cotton candy (yum!), enjoyed more maple samples, and even got our faces painted!!

Grins chose a 'monster truck':

Angel wanted to be a puppy (of course!):

And Wiggles selected a 'kitty' face:

Imagine our surprise when we returned home and received a phone call that Angel had won the Scavenger hunt contest!  So we headed back the following weekend for her to select her prize (maple syrup and some maple fudge), and had even more fun, getting a more detailed tour of the farm, etc.  It was cute watching her select her prize....they said she could choose $10 worth of maple products from the store.  At first she selected a very tall lighthouse shaped bottle for $10.  Then she changed her mind and chose one with a lobster on it.  Then she wanted a snowman bottle to give to Grandma.  At last, she finally settled on a smaller bottle that was easier to pour, and some fudge.  When I asked if she was certain (since she kept changing her mind), she looked up and whispered "I definitely have the best deal now!"  She was quite proud of her winnings, especially when she learned that they even printed her name in the newspaper! Two wins in one day - she's one lucky girl!

Oh, and I may have finally figured out how to upload videos on here!  Check out Wiggles dancing to the beat:

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