Written by Geraldine Last
posted on February 13, 2018 12:40
Maple Month in the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands… Yes, as the saying goes - we’re tapping-out in March!
We will kick-start the season, on March 3, 2018, with a traditional tapping of the first maple tree, at the Sugar House, on the Horton Homestead Farm, north of Lansdowne, ON. George Horton, owner of Horton Homestead Farm, was recently awarded the prestigious Sugar Maker of the Year Award, 2017, by the Lanark District Maple Syrup Producers Association.
Tapping-out fun is planned for all ages, from one o’clock until 4 p.m. The honour of the first tap will be at 2 pm.
There will be vendors of all things maple showing and selling their wares. There will also be Maple products, winter gear for sports, or protection, in the Syrup Bush, and anyone who uses maple syrup ingredients in their operations, is encouraged to set up a display. Soap and maple-shaped quilting items are just a couple of the items on offer...to say nothing of maple syrup at its finest!
Trail tours will be offered; Snowshoe Demonstrations will be happening…or you may strap on your own. The Frontenac Arch Biosphere group will provide an educational component on the cycle of maple syrup and how it is made. They will also present their winter trails strategy.
We are excited this year to have guest presenter, Algonquin/Oneida Aboriginal Paul Carl, whose parents originally lived in the area of the Horton sugar bush. Paul presents a fascinating interactive display in which he demonstrates his skills and explains how his ancestors harvested and used ‘sweet water’ in ceremonies to make maple syrup and sugar. Enjoy watching, as Paul works with just a trough dug-out of a log, and antlers and stones in a firepit. Then savour the smell of the sap, as it heats up. He will share his Anishinaabe (Algonquin) stories on how the First Nations people were gifted the knowledge to make maple sugar.
“Paul’s enthusiastic sense of humour, patience and passion, leave visitors with a greater awareness of the ancient ways of being in relationship with the land.’ says the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority(CRCA) and going on to say, “Paul’s first commitment in March is to the CRCA Maple Madness Festival, so we are very lucky to have ‘tapped’ Paul for our first tapping-out party in TLTI.”
When Paul asked if we would be serving pancakes, he informed me that he ‘puts pancakes on his syrup.’ I told him that we will be looking forward, to many a pancake meal, from our community groups throughout March, but that we will be offering some tantalizing tapping “tidBites” with maple syrup, to enhance the tastes.
Mark March 3rd, 2018 on your calendar
1 pm until 4 pm at the Sugar House
Horton Homestead Farm, 354 Sand Bay Road in Lansdowne.
Are you a vendor? There is free advertising - See www.leeds1000islands.ca under Workshops and Events.
By Geraldine Last
Geraldine (Gerry) Last and her partner moved to the Rockport area, so they could live near the St. Lawrence River. When Gerry retired from her teaching career, she became a volunteer with the Rockport Development Group (RDG). After gaining an appreciation for all that RDG does, she nominated the group for a "Keeper of the Islands Award" from the Gananoque Chamber of Commerce. RDG was happy to accept the award, in 2012. Gerry is the Chairperson for the "Rockport Prohibition Days Festival Committee. For the past three years, she has put heart and soul into planning, for this Roaring-Twenties' festival. It's the first of its kind in Rockport, and the Thousand Islands, and has become an annual success.