"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Friday, March 15, 2013

For Little Hands:: Maple Sugaring

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.

How each the Whole its substance gives,
each in the other works and lives!
See heavenly forces rising and descending,
their golden urns reciprocally lending:
on wings that winnow sweet blessing
from heaven through the earth they're pressing,
to fill the All with harmonies caressing.
~ Goethe
We missed last week's For Little Hands as well as all of this week due to so much busyness that has crept up kind of suddenly. We found ourselves in the midst of needing a new car. We knew we'd need one, eventually, but all at once it became quite clear we needed it sooner rather than later. Much of my time and energy went into researching, finding, and surrendering to the process. We didn't have much money to spend on a "new to us" car and being the family size that we are we were finding that affordable options were limited to a certain style vehicle. We finally found the car we could see ourselves in. It was within our price range, could hold all seven of us comfortably, needed minimal work, was a bit higher on our hoped for mileage but in the end, and after hours of research on my husband's part, we felt this particular vehicle would be our best option. Like Kiki in the photo above, we took a leap of faith and just let the process guide us, making decisions as we needed to along the way, and simply sailed through it. Anyway, it made for a very quick week!

The community Maple Syrup evaporator
This week also found us in the midst of Maple Syrup season. Living in an intentional community provides us many opportunities to jump in and help create our experiences. The process behind maple sugaring is such a beautifully in tune expression, children love it and get so much out of the process. If you live in an area where you could visit a farm that taps their trees and processes for maple syrup I highly recommend you try and visit. From beginning to end it's such an enlivening experience; the vitality and connection to the natural rhythm around you is palpable.
Seraphina has been enjoying more time outdoors as her health strengthens. Her new favorite spot is in the backpack!
One of the best parts of maple sugaring is collecting the sap. We've got about 20 or so trees tapped here so there is more than enough for each child to go around with a collection bucket and collect the sap. It's such a sweet wonder and the look of awe and excitement from the children as they open the lid to the buckets, discover the watery sap within, pour it into their bucket, and then, of course, sneak a taste of the sweet sap from their bucket. Children know the reverence and respect this process deserves. They're so joyful and fully immersed in the experience. They're gentle and loving.
The littlest hands can help by finding the sap buckets on the tree, they can help pour the sap into the catch buckets, they can help carry the sap-laden buckets, and they can help by simple smiling and loving the process; running about, laughing and playing and reaching in, over and over again, to taste the sweet sap.

It's an "all hands on deck" experience. Many hands make light work.

One of Kiki's favorite ways to help was by holding on to the sap collection bucket and sneaking tastes
of the sap when she thought I wasn't looking!

Full to the brim soup pot full of partially evaporated sap
After a few days of evaporating the sap we each went home with a soup pot full of mostly evaporated syrup to finish on our stove top. This part requires patience.....littles might have a hard time waiting especially with the long awaited gift being so close they could taste it! When I found their patience being tried, I reminded them of all the hard work that went into collecting and preparing the sap, the fun and community that was built in the experience, and then...I offered them a taste of the almost ready syrup.

Reduced by over half after 3 hours of cooking

After 3 hours of finishing we ended up with 2 full quarts of syrup and an immediate request for pancakes for breakfast the next day!
We went to bed with the taste of what our beautiful Sugar Maples have provided for us, the satisfaction of hard work behind us and the promise of more in the next few weeks. We all felt tied more closely to the land that surrounds us and gave thanks for the abundance.
In what ways do you honor the natural rhythms around you? How do you plug in and connect to the land that surrounds you?


  1. what a pretty blog love it, so glad I found it. Love Maple Syrup would love to go maple sugaring some time!
    New blog follower

    Shannon @ Explore, Create, Faith, Read....

  2. amazing! we have never done that. maybe some day(s) we will.
    glad you were able to find a new to you car. buying a vehicle can be so stressful.


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