The Pancake Chronicles

The Pancake Chronicles: Winter Vestiges - Part ½

The Pancake Chronicles

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Winter Vestiges - Part ½

While snow hides furtively behind rocks

and recedes from the sunshine like sea foam on an island shore

new things,
spring things,
are happening.

Brent has tapped five birch trees for sap.
The boy wants syrup.

Mr. Feil is pouring the sap into containers that will be easy to transfer.
I stuck my finger into the stuff for a try.
It looked, smelled and tasted like water.
It will have to be strained and cooked down before
its flavour emerges and pancakes can enter the picture.

The spring sap is flowing fast so once a day someone has to
check the trees and empty the cartons otherwise they would overflow.
Care is taken to choose trees that are old enough to handle the process
and afterwards the tap wound is sealed up to prevent disease
and ensure that the tree is alive and strong for years and years to come.

These trees are thinking very hard about leaves, I just
know it!

Last years' aren't working so well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Birch syrup?! I've never heard of such a thing. How does it taste? (other than syrupy :) )


21 May 2008 at 11:23  
Anonymous clara said...

sap = pancake? I've seen birch sap added to chocolates though.

21 May 2008 at 12:28  
Blogger Colleen said...

Trevor, hi! Supposedly it has a milder taste than maple. I haven't tried it yet but I hope to!

Hello Clara! No, sap does not = pancake. But it does equal the beginning thought of a lovely breakfast-to-be. :) Those chocolates really intrigue me! I love tree syrups so I can't imagine they'd be anything less than awesome. :)

21 May 2008 at 15:02  
Blogger Nan - said...

I've never, ever heard of tapping birch trees. Is this done when there aren't available maples? I'll be interested in what you say about the taste. Do you 'cook it down' in the house, or do you have a special place where you do this? I've heard it makes quite a mess in the kitchen and can even take off the wallpaper making maple syrup! Thanks so much for these pictures and story. I just loved learning this.

22 May 2008 at 12:50  
Blogger Sonya said...

Well, you learn something new every day. Making syrup from birch sap. Who knew? Birch trees are one of my favorites so I would like to believe that they make delicious syrup. :)

22 May 2008 at 17:35  
Blogger Captain Cat said...

Hello sweet adorable you. I bet last year's trees are also thinking of leaves. They may pretend to be lying dormant but maybe if you go back in a few weeks they will have erupted into green. Or maybe not. That one in the foreground in your last photo looks pretty beaten up.

If you stand close enough, can you hear the soft rustling of mice living in the debris? In our woods in England all the mice come out if you stand there quietly and long enough. I love catching animals red-handed, just going about their business. I adore the look of utter shock and dismay when they realise they've been found out and are actually being watched.

This whole sap thing is most intriguing. Do let us know what Birch sap tastes like on pancakes.

25 May 2008 at 01:00  

any questions?

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