Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tapping into Spring and Maple Syrup Season!

Happy Tuesday morning, everyone!  Just in case you forgot, I am here to announce the arrival of something glorious!  You know?  The thing we've been waiting for since January?  The precise day I've been anticipating for weeks now?  It's SPRING, beautiful, invigorating, refreshing SPRING! 

In our neighbourhood this morning, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the birds are singing.  I could not have asked for a more perfect first day of Spring!  We have been rewarded with mild temperatures, sunshine and blue skies for the greater part of the last week, although, it is highly unusual for this time of year.  But you know what?  I am not going to complain.  I'll take it! 

One of the earliest signs of Spring in our province of Ontario, is the tapping of maple syrup.  Last week we took the girls and my mom for a visit to Shaw's Maple Syrup Bush.  We have been visiting this lovely sugar bush for the past four years, ever since we moved north to Barrie.  

Shaw's has been producing maple syrup since 1904.  It is a family business spanning over 100 years!

Our first stop, was a visit to the pancake house, where they serve breakfast with choice of pancakes, french toast, sausages, maple baked beans, and of course, their delicious fresh maple syrup!

We opted for the silver dollar pancakes and pork sausages.  Do these look like silver dollars to you?  Now imagine how big the large pancakes are! 


This photo was taken inside the building where the sap is boiled.  This is a shiny new machine, purchased just recently.  The sap is being boiled up top, inside, where the lid is open.

Here is a closer look inside, where the sap is boiling and slowly turning into maple syrup.  It was hard to capture due to the intense steam, but you get the idea.

This is the bottom of the machine, where the maple syrup pours into, once it has been completely boiled down.
Did you know it takes approximately 40-50 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of syrup? 

Back outside, the girls and Daddy are making maple taffy on snow!


 Out in the sugar bush, you can see plastic tubing is connected from tree to tree to collect the maple sap.

Here is a peek at the maple sap inside one of the buckets.

Fancy a horse and wagon ride through the maple farm? 

What a beautiful morning it was!

I just love the look of this wood pile, don't you?

This photo was taken from our car, as we were leaving the sugar bush.  There were actually five deer altogether.  A couple ran across the road to the other side and two others ran away.  This sweetheart, stayed for a photo! 

This ends our tour of Shaw's Maple Syrup Bush.  I do hope you enjoyed coming along.  I love the maple syrup season and look forward to it each and every Spring!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy Spring season! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Celebrating March Break With Mom & Daughters

It's Friday, the last day of March Break.  The girls and I have had an awesome week filled with sunshine, fun and adventures.  If you're a regular reader of my blog, you probably already know that my Mother came to spend the March Break with us.  She has been staying with us every March Break since we left Toronto and moved to Barrie; four consecutive years now.  She left for home, early this morning, back to her daily life waiting for her in Toronto. 

As usual, we loved having my Mom stay with us for a few days.  How I treasure these special times we spend together.  However, the day she leaves is always a melancholy day for both of us.   It's just so difficult to say goodbye.  It would be so much easier to stay in bed and let her leave without saying goodbye, but how could I not bid her farewell?  I choose to face it straight on and think of all the good times we shared, because those memories supersede the sad goodbyes.

These are my mother's hands; the giving hands of my dear Mom.

And here she is, Rosa, my Mom.  Every time she comes to visit, she gladly mends our clothing items that need fixing.  She is responsible for most of the mending and sewing of buttons at our house.  I am spoiled, and because of this, I am plain useless with a needle and thread.

  This photo of the girls and my Mom was taken on Tuesday.  We went thrift shop browsing that afternoon and then we went for a walk by Lake Simcoe, in downtown Barrie.  If you look closely, you can see the lake behind the trees.

We were blessed with a wonderful weather week.  Temperatures were mild and Spring-like and most of our days were filled with sunshine and blue skies! 


Annabel wearing her newly mended top and new tutu!

A brisk, early morning walk to our local coffee shop.  And guess what?  We heard robins chirping!

Last night, the girls made a special card for my Mom to take home with her today. 

I found this sweet poem about Mothers and Daughters.  I loved it and I thought you would enjoy reading it also...

Moms and Daughters

by Anonymous

You can see it in their eyes,
in tender hugs and long good-byes,
a love that only moms and daughters know.

You can see it in their smiles,
through passing years and changing styles,
a friendship that continually seems to grow.

You can see it in their lives,
the joy each one of them derives,
in just knowing that the other one is there...

To care and to understand,
lend an ear or hold a hand,
and to celebrate the memories they share.

Stay tuned for my next post.  I'll be sharing this week's visit to the Maple Syrup Farm!  It was way too much for just one post. 

Although it already feels like Spring here, I am looking forward to its official arrival in just four days!  Isn't that exciting?  Enjoy the beautiful weekend and count your blessings!  xoxo

Friday, March 9, 2012

Marching Ahead to Spring!

Counting down eleven more days...

On Wednesday morning, the temperature was mild and the sun was shining!

The sun didn't stay long, but the warm 10 degrees C held on for most of the day

There was a whole lot of melting going on!

This calls for a celebration!

Don't you think?

Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere!

There is so much to look forward to this week...

The girls are officially on March Break and will be on vacation from school until the end of next week.  Sunday, I am told, should be a sunny, warm day, which will hopefully melt the rest of our snow.  The weather station is predicting mild temperatures for the entire March Break.  AND, Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, so don't forget to "spring" forward! 

This weekend, my mom will be coming to stay with us for a few days.  The girls and I are so excited!  It's going to be a fun week.  I just know it!  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and happy week ahead!  xo

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Knock, Knock...

-Knock, knock

-Who's there?


-March, who?  It can't be March!

Oh, but it is!  It is!  You wouldn't know it, though, if you lived here in Barrie and looked out your window this early morning.  Your eyes would see snow piled high on your neighbours' front lawns, driveways fresh with fallen snow, cars encrusted in ice, and snowflakes falling ever so slowly, but surely. 

My backyard this morning

It looks like a perfectly wintry day with no sign of Spring in sight.  Police are advising motorists to stay off the roads unless completely necessary, as the highways are slippery with ice and continuous falling snow.  School buses have been cancelled and numerous collisions have been reported.

Even though our first day of March is bringing with it more wintry weather, the end IS in sight.  Afterall, it's the month of Spring and the promise of crocuses, daffodils and tulips!  It's the start of maple syrup season and in just ten days it'll be Spring break!  Children young and old, will be home from school for an entire week!  My mother will be spending a few days with us and my girls are so excited!  And of course, the weather will get milder, the snow will eventually melt and the yellow grass will give way to one of my favorite signs of Spring - the American robin! 

Happy March and early Spring!  I'm waiting, as patiently as I can.  It'll get here...it always does! xo