Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our Sugar House - Places & Making Things

Oh Boy!
by Amy LV

Students - it's that time of year again. If you live in the Northeastern US or Canada, and if you live in the country, and if you have sugar maples in your yard, and if you like to sit around and watch things boil...then it's your time. Sugaring time! For the past few years, our family has boiled maple syrup. We started by boiling on our grill burner. Then we moved to a little fire pit made from cinder blocks and a canning pot...and this year we have our own evaporating pan! Thanks to our good friend John Hitchings, who has taught us about syruping, we are getting better and better organized. We don't make lots of syrup, just a bit for us to enjoy. So far we have three quarts this year. All from one tree!

This poem is about a place, a small place called a sugar house. That's where many people boil their syrup, in tiny shed-like houses or big buildings that hold an evaporating pan, a couple of chairs, and some supplies. Commercial operations are quite large, but many people just boil a bit of backyard syrup. We still boil outside, but maybe someday we'll have a sugar house, or sugar shack, of our own.

You will notice that this is a poem with a pattern. Each stanza has four lines, and lines two and four of each stanza always rhyme with each other. When I write rhyming poems, the most important thing for me is that the rhymes make sense. Yes, I could have rhymed "sap" with "map." But why would I do that? Meaning is most important when writing a poem or anything else.

The idea for today's poem came from two thoughts. First, I got thinking about special places, and our friend John's cozy sugar shack came to mind since we just visited it. Next, we have been making maple syrup, and I like writing poems about making things.

Where is a special small place where you like to spend time?

What have you made lately?

If you want to write about a lot of different things, one way to do this is to try making a lot of different things. Look around your house and make up some crafts. Or ask if you can help cooking or gardening or fixing things. The more we do, the more we know, the more we know...the more writing ideas we have!

For another poem about maple sugaring, go back to last year and read Tap Sap Lap.

To read more about syruping, I again recommend this article, How to Tap Maple Trees and Make Maple Syrup, from the University of Maine Extension.

To watch a video of maple sugaring, watch this video, "Maple Syrup in the Making at Yardley's Sugarhouse."

May your day be sweet!

2 Quarts of 2012 Syrup
Photo by Amy LV

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  1. How great is that that you get to make maple syrup. I have watched stories on tv about this, & showing the tapping & all the process in the sugar house. Nice that you made syrup & poetry! The ending delights because of what happens after the syrup is made. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for this wonderful gem! I'm framing it and hanging it our sugar shack today!! Our "operation" has taken on a life of it's own - we bottled 15 gallons last week, 6 gallons this week...but the most wonderful part is that it's still our family sitting around the maple steam, sharing stories & laughing. Mmmm...