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[Note: The auction for the Little Nana, the handmade Knitting Thistleonian critter, ends this Friday morning ... in case you are interested.] Firefly Sees a Maple Sap Bucket at Genesee Country VillageI have learned many things, over the course of the past year, about New York State in general and western New York in particular. Of course, the most important thing I learned was that is there is such an area as "western" New York. It is even referred to as the Frontier Region. New York, a frontier. Interesting thought. Another interesting fact is that, while people tend to think of Vermont as "the maple syrup state" (I know I did), much of the maple syrup production in this country actually occurs in New York State. Quite a few of the people we know make their own maple syrup; my husband and his family have made it a number of times over the years. The time will come, most likely next year, when I myself will stay up all night helping to tend fires and stirring a pot (or something) for hours on end and help in the process of making a few gallons of maple syrup. We have quite a few maples growing on the bank of the river down by our cottage--that is where my husband's family has gathered and made maple syrup over the years. His nephew's farm, about two hours south of here, is larger than ours and he has quite a stand of woods along some hilly land where many maples grow. They have been hatching a plan for the making of much maple syrup down at his place using gravity rather than what--I don't know. It does sound like fun though. Firefly Sees a Maple Sap Tap at Genesee Country VillageSomething else to look forward to. This weekend we went down to the Genesee Country Village and Museum for their Maply Sugaring Festival. They took us on a tour through the woods where they gather their syrup. The woods were lovely, dark, and deep. There were gorgeous and interesting rock outcroppings everywhere, covered with deep green moss. I haven't seen so much moss in many years, not since I was a child playing in the woods in North Carolina. We used to gather moss in the woods back then to use as carpeting in our woodland playhouses. It was magical. It was overcast and began raining as we made our way through the woods. I enjoyed hearing the sound of raindrops tapping branches, leaves, earth, and rock in the woods. It was also very interesting to learn about the effort and beauty of making maple syrup, from start to finish. Firefly See Quite a Lot of Moss at Genesee Country VillageI now know what a sugar shack is: a little shack by the fires with the kettles that boil down the maple sap. The sugar shack has a little bed in it, and provides a bit of shelter. Now that I know about the twenty-four hour vigil involved in boiling down the sap in the journey toward syrup, I can understand a little shack would be needed. And, I get why it is called a sugar shack. Each time we visit the Village, they have a recipe printed on the back of our tickets. This weekend's recipe was for Irish Soda Bread. It is very similar to a soda biscuit recipe, but without the butter in the dough. I gave the recipe a try yesterday and was very happy with it. I added raisins, and used brown sugar instead of white. It was delicious, but my husband and I both agreed I could have used twice as many raisins ... and next time I will. The next time I post a blog entry, I will have my version of the recipe ready to share with you. Get ready with some buttermilk, flour, and raisins because when you get the recipe I think you will want to try it right away. Yummy. Firefly Makes some Delicious Irish Soda BreadI completed another post-card size painting, this time of two pears. It is titled "Two Pear on Stone Sill", and you can see it at my painting a day blog if you like. The scarf I am morphing my spring hat into is coming along quite lovely. Photos in my next post. We are enjoying a beautiful thunder storm here right now. It is a dark and rainy day. I love it. Hope you are enjoying yours! ~firefly Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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