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Monday, March 28, 2011

Living in New England: Sugar Shacks

My people hail from the South. 
No one from my family has come up to visit since we have lived here (please feel free to reprimand them in the comments;)  In fact, none of my immediate family has ever even been to New England... ever!  Often when I write I "try" to give my Southern peeps a little glimpse into what our life is like here, but as I say in my intro on the sidebar...
 If you've never been to New England I cannot describe it with adequate words, you really just have to experience it!

There are many aspects of life here that are so unique from other parts of the country, and I want to share those things with my family, and perhaps with you- if you have never been here.   I thought it might be helpful to do some posts called : Living in New England that highlight quintessential New England sights, events, situations, and experiences.   
I also know of many people who have lived here, in New England, their entire lives and perhaps don't realize that some of the events and sights that I will describe don't happen elsewhere in the country.  Or, maybe you are originally from New England, but have moved away... I hope these posts will bring back some fond memories for you.  
In any event I wish to share New England with you through the eyes of this Southerner.


Sugar Shacks
It is sugar season here in New England! This event happens once a year in early Spring when the maple trees are tapped for their sap, the sap is collected and taken to a Sugar Shack to be boiled down and made into the delectable liquid gold called maple syrup!
Sugar season lasts 4 to 6 weeks depending on the weather.  The perfect weather for getting the most sap from the maples is to have temperatures freezing (preferably 25 degrees) at night and 45-50 degrees during the day.



There are several methods commonly seen here to "tap" the trees.  This is my favorite, the old fashioned way- where metal buckets are placed on the tree.



Or, you can use plastic milk containers.




If you have a lot of trees to tap you would use the pvc tubes (here in blue, black and white).



The tubes empty into the large tub.




This Sugar Shack is in a small town near us.   Last year they tapped 7,200 trees in our area.  Each tree has only 1 to 2 taps so as to not harm the tree.  During the season they haul in 10,000 gallons of sap per day, and they burn 50 cords of wood for the season.
It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup!




Sugar season also coincides with "mud" season in New England.  This is why you need "mud" boots and a "mud" room here- which for my southern peeps is a room where you remove said "mud" boots before entering the house!




The Sugar Shack is open all year.  Please take note of the metal box on the counter on the right.  The shack is on the "honor-system."  You leave the money in the box.  We did not have the "honor-system" in Dallas:)




The huge boiler where the sap is made into the delicious syrup.  The sap must be boiled within approximately 8 hours of it being taken from the tree or it will go bad.  The sap is boiled to 218 degrees which turns it into syrup.




It depends on the time of the year as to which grade of syrup is our favorite.  Right now we really like the Grade A, but as the season progresses we like the taste of Grade B best.




And speaking of maple syrup.....remember this young girl who became an orphan when I stole the antique gilt frame that I found her in to use for a different piece of art?  Well.... she has a very happy ending.  She was adopted by the lovely, talented and oh-so-funny Linda at Lime in the Coconut!   Seems Ingrid took a liking to pure maple syrup during her time here in New England and she packed some in her knapsack (along with her scarf collection) before heading to Florida.  The gracious hostess Linda made Ingrid some Crunchy Coconut French Toast upon her arrival.   The recipe (do not miss this recipe) is here!
Don't you think Ingrid looks so much happier in Florida?! 
photo: Lime in the Coconut



That made me think that maybe YOU, too, might like a little New Hampshire Pure Maple Syrup!! 
So, today when I picked up a quart for us at the Sugar Shack I also picked up an extra quart to give away to one of you!  This syrup was boiled just this week!
For your chance to receive the sweet liquid gold,  just leave a comment on this post about your favorite way to enjoy maple syrup, or your favorite recipe that includes maple syrup, or how you would use the maple syrup if it arrives at your door, or if you have any favorite memories of Sugar Shacks, or if you've never had pure maple syrup, or your reprimand for "my people";), or.......  you can just leave any comment!!  Please be sure to include contact information if you post as anonymous.
Enter once up until 8pm EDT on Friday, April 1 !
did I mention that they give samples of maple syrup over vanilla ice cream at the Sugar Shack?!
soooooooo good!


133 comments:

  1. My favorite is to put it on homemade waffles.. I make them for my grandson and he loves it...

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  2. OK, all you rellies ... how can you possibly stay away from all this splendor?

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  3. Oh I just know I would love New England. I have a daughter entering grad school in Vermont in the fall. We are from NC and consider ourselves very southern. Down here sugar shack has a totally different meaning. :)
    If I were to win the syrup I would use it over pancakes for my son (who eats them every morning)!!
    Not sure how your relatives can stay away. Your house is fabulous!!!!

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  4. ooh-ooooh, I have never tried maple syrup on ice cream. But I do love it on pancakes, and I have a great maple sugar cookie recipe. Hope I win!

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  5. hi joan,

    what a great series to write about. your passion for new hampshire is so great to read about. i would use the maple syrup in a zillion ways around here mostly in my granola i make every week.

    be glad i'm not a relative b/c then you'd probably be writing an post on how to get rid of guests that don't know when to leave.

    xo
    janet

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  6. Dear Hubs just took son #1 on a maple syrup hike at the local forest preserve with Scouts. In the week since son #1 wants to tap every tree in our yard (none are sugar maples or any maple for that matter!). Hubs makes Amish omelets and tops with maple syrup. Yum!

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  7. My sister is a New Englander and a maple syrup snob! I have to make sure I have real maple syrup when she visits... no Aunt Gemima for her! I don't blame her, though. There's nothing quite like the real thing. Oh, and if your real relatives don't show up there soon, I am happy to fill in for them :)

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  8. I'll combine a little South with New England...We love sweet potatoes with maple syrup! Love your beautiful home too!!!! Lori L

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  9. Oh yummy yum YUM! I would pour it over golden delicious waffles or add a splash into my morning oatmeal!

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  10. Love love maple syrup. Love it on homemade rolls. Also, if your family does not want to visit you I will. Your place is awesome. Thanks for the give away.

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  11. We just discovered the joy that is french toast made with croissants-- never have I had anything so delish! I would love to drizzle it with some FRESH syrup!

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  12. Oh I love maple syrup. I like to eat it by the spoonful! Great post!

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  13. I appreciate seeing N.E. through your Southerner's eyes! I live in and love New England so much but right about this time every year I tend to forget all that this region offers, and instead get a little cranky that real spring is just within arm's reach, but snow may still fall any day!

    I went on a maple sugaring fieldtrip with my 8 year old son a couple weeks ago (in MA) and it WAS so interesting! And how truly lovely authentic maple syrup tastes - SO delicious. What a sweet giveaway - but please don't put my name into your giveaway as it would be so wonderful for one of your readers in another part of the country to win!! Just wanted to tell you I look forward to your New England series!
    Best, Lisa

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  14. I have not been to New England and would LOVE to visit...I know that I would love it.....regarding the maple syrup......blueberry pancakes or yummy french toast......Yum!!!!!
    Andrea in Illinois
    AndeM1@hotmail.com

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  15. I like over good ol belgian waffles, with chocolate chips :) love this post. Love your house and blog too. Always checking in! Amy

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  16. I've never been to New England but have always wanted to visit. We would definitely eat the syrup over pancakes! Yumm!!

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  17. I know exactly what you mean. Only one member of my family has made it here to the high desert; I strive to express how different life is here to they who choose to stay in Maine through my blog.

    My favorite sugaring outing was a surprise one in New Brunswick. Just miles and miles of white tubing giving me a clue where we were headed. A log cabin with an entire buffet of maple syrup foods. For me, the best one was the pile of snow in a cup with syrup drizzled on top! :)

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  18. Awww. LOVE your sugar shack escapades! I also have made a chicken breast recipe with maple syrup...sounds weird...but is really GOOD!

    I can vouch for the ABSOLUTE deliciousness of this liquid gold from muddy New Hampshire...true nectar of the Gods!Thank you sooooo much!

    Anon Susan...just WHAT are you waiting for? Do I need to beat you to this beautiful corner of our world??!!

    Ps...do not add me...I've already been blessed with the goodness!!

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  19. Oh, how I would love to go to the Sugar Shack and get a bottle in person! Maybe someday...

    My favorite is over waffles and french toast.

    PS. L.O.V.E. what you're doing to your house!

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  20. Let's see...definitely love it over pancakes!!

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  21. Your family definitely has to make the trip up for a sugaring off - there's nothing like it in the south!

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  22. Oh, Oh, Oh! To Joan's extended family,
    You have no idea of the wonderland of architecture, flora & fauna, coastlines and American history that awaits you in New England! It is a quintessential sensory Disneyland-esque world. It is the foundation of our nation and along with the architecture, the forests, the food and cultural tradition, New England is a treasure trove of landmarks which are maintained with love and respect, to be shared with all who venture there.
    Go, explore! Experience the cradle of our nation and ALL that it has to offer, You will be surprised and thrilled that you did. Aren't you the least bit curious?

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  23. It has been a long time since I was in New England. I LOVED the New Hampshire maple syrup and still have the little jugs it came in.
    Years after that first trip my daughter and I were there for a swim meet and stayed for several days after to tour the country side. We ended up at a little place called 'The Sugar Shack'....and the lady was so sweet! She had a bed and breakfast and no visitors at the time. She rented us the entire house on the lake for what a room at the Howard Johnson would have cost.
    Returning to New England is on my 'Bucket List'....and it should be on your family's PRIORITY list!!
    Loved this post!!! Thanks for sharing your world.

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  24. Best way to enjoy maple syrup in this house is simply through my eyes! I serve up hot breakfast with "dip-dip" as my tiny two-year old calls syrup, and then I watch the delicious disaster unfold all over the kitchen table. She usually manages to drizzle a substantial amount all over her jammies, the caned chair seat, and the worst-her hair. I'm not sure how this happens, except that she inhales her breakfast, and I think speed must be one of many culprits! Would love some Grade A (or B) syrup to whet her morning appetite!

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  25. I would have to enjoy if over fresh pancakes for dinner. What a wonderful meal that would make!
    With every post I am closer to a destination trip there to NE!
    Thanks for the opportunity to share in the experience.
    Carin from Pennsylvania
    carin_talucci@yahoo.com

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  26. I lived in upstate NY for years and Maple Syrup was so good there. In fact the town I lived in was called the Maple City.

    I use maple syrup in my apple pie. It just adds a little something that makes it wonderful!

    Thanks for the chance to win some maple syrup!
    Penny

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  27. joan, i will never eat pancakes and syrup again without thinking of this wonderful posting of yours. perhaps one of your peeps would like to give me their invitation...seems a shame to let such a lovely thing go to waste...(not sure if that will work on them, joan, but I tried!) -xok.

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  28. I feel so left out - I have NEVER had pure maple syrup! I would love to have it over french toast. What a great way to start the day!

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  29. Joan I would love this!! How exciting to hear all of the background story!!

    I have a new giveaway I think you will love…from The Zhush!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  30. oh i am suddenly craving pancakes!!! Yummy

    Amy
    www.SistersoftheWildWest.com

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  31. I always look forward to reading your blog posts, one of my new favorite blogs to follow! Loved learning about maple syrup, I never knew this was how it was made. I love to make stuffed pancakes using my ebelskiver pan that I got for my birthday this year, maple syrup makes a perfect topping for blueberry stuffed pancakes!

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  32. Well, you know that if your family from the South won't come visit, I will proudly let you adopt me!! I would get there as fast as I could..but until then, I would love to sample some real maple syrup. I didn't think I liked honey till just recently so I am ready to develop a taste for another sweet. On ice cream, well what could possibly be wrong with that! Love the insight to NH life...keep it coming!

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  33. Since Maple syrup has one of the lowest effects on blood sugar levels we use this in place of sugar and other sweeteners every chance we get! Our children have grown to love the extra flavor of it especially in SOUP!! Yes! Soup! Most any tomato base product we feel tastes much better (and it cuts the acidy down) with a little magic ingredient called pure maple syrup. So, soup it is.. and so is salsa, pizza sauce, etc etc.. :) LOVE your house!

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  34. I'm so excited for your New England posts. I have a love affair with that part of the country. I made the mistake of giving my son REAL maple syrup, which is more expensive than the cheap stuff here in CA. Now he won't eat anything else! Thanks for sharing your NE life with us!

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  35. Oh...I would LOVE to try some of that pure maple syrup! I remember reading about the process in The Little House On The Prairie books.

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  36. Well now, shame on you relatives! I'm a Southern girl who've never been to New England nor have relatives there, but I hear New England is beautiful country. I like maple syrup best on waffles or pancakes.

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  37. For some bizarre reason Joan, I immediately started to hum Charlene's 'Never been to me' when I started reading this post. Maybe it was the line about your 'people from the South' never heading north. Anyhoo, I've taken the liberty to tweak good 'ol Charlene's lines:

    'Oh, I've been to Texas and New Hampshire anywhere I could run
    Took the hand of Dan the Man
    and we made a home in the sun
    And now in this place of friendly faces
    I'm set free
    I'm in paradise and I've..... really been to me'
    Millie x

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  38. Fabulous! I've really been into the pancakes lately and have been wondering how maple syrup is made, and how the 'real stuff' from over there tastes. I have a friend from Canada and she says ours is nothing like theirs. Would love to visit a Sugar Shack some day.

    TDM xx

    ps don't count me in the giveaway - I'm in Australia and don't think Customs would let it through.

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  39. What a nice and interesting post! I was wondering, how can be that your family hasn't travel to visit New England, and my two daughters have been there... ¡coming from Spain!

    But I have to confess, I have never tasted mapple syrup. Is not very common here, and now, while I'm drinking my morning coffee and watching Ingrid with her delicious toast covered with syrup, I'm planning a visit to an American Store in Madrid to get that delicacy....

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  40. Thank you Joan for such an enjoyable Blog. I have a delightful time every time I visit! Yours was the first blog I joined :)
    I am glad Ingrid has found a home. Maybe I'll run into her sometime as I am new to Florida also. I married a native Florida boy in 2007. He drug me off away from my old kentucky home, to the big city! How I miss country roads...cowbells...and maple trees in October. I enjoyed your first installment of "Life in New England". Looking forward to new posts. I still enjoy a simple dessert now, as much as I did as a child sitting in my grannies kitchen.....hot biscuits and butter covered in maple syrup....doesn't get much better than that!
    Florida hugs,
    Becca
    southernladynred@yahoo.com

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  41. Hi, it's me again...Becca. I forgot to add....
    I just know that after reading your postings of "Life in New England", your family will be camping on your doorstep!
    Florida hugs,
    Becca
    southernladynred@yahoo.com

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  42. Thanks for this reminder. I had forgotten all about sugaring time! We are spoiled having grown up in rural upstate NY, we can only tolerate real maple syrup in our house. In the winter, we'd boil it down and drizzle it on fresh snow for a chewy, maple treat. Virginia is beautiful, but sometimes I really miss New England...

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  43. We love New England maple syrup- it's all we use, and I even pay extra to buy it bulk and have it shipped in from Germany by the case because we can't buy it here. What a fun treat to have it all right in your own backyard!

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  44. Your relatives clearly owe you a visit! Perhaps when "the barn" is all done you will have to have a party and specifically invite them.
    When I was growing up in nh we used to heat up the maple syrup and pour it over a bowl of fresh snow, that was before fear od pollution and radiation! Now I use it almost daily on my steel cut oatmeal, and on special Sundays, on raspberry waffles. I LOVE your posts, you feel like a kindred spirit, please continue to keep us posted Best, Ann

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  45. So enjoyed this post! If sugar season isn't enough to entice to come up north then I can't imagine what will do it; You might just have seduced them with this post however! Funny I hail from the south originally as well though we are all over and though I love the northern culture, something about that southern culture that is permanently embedded in me....funny how that happens and comes full circle when you are a "real adult" (getting there, at 45 starting to grow up..lol) Great post and makes me want to drive up to VT to see this sugar season at work...so neat!

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  46. Joan, this post is pure delight! And yes, your people should be ashamed for being so... ridiculous! Who wouldn't want to visit such enchanting country? Maybe I can say that as Texan/Southerner with NE roots as well.
    As for maple syrup, my French Toast casserole is my favorite way to indulge, but now you've intrigued me with the vanilla ice cream.
    Thanks for the fun today!
    Heidi @ Show Some Decor

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  47. What a nice tour! It's early as I'm reading your post now I'm craving some pancakes and maple syrup! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

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  48. Sugar season also coincides with "mud" season in New England. This is why you need "mud" boots and a "mud" room here- which for my southern peeps is a room where you remove said "mud" boots before entering the house!

    That cracked me up! Gotta love that mud!

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  49. ...what a wonderful idea...we all need to see the beauty beyond our doorstep...and i read beauty all through your words...of places and of things...but mostly beauty of life among wonderful people...and i must share...outside of atlanta...we too still have the "honor system"...we see people with their garden produce left in the yard for people to buy...and one of my favorites...on the way to my mom's house...for years an older couple digs and divides their flowers... and leaves them near the curb with an honor box...i think we americans are indeed still a rich and diverse group...thank your for the reminder...

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  50. Here in Southern Ontario, the sap is running right now. Family trips always included a visit to the local sugar shack where they poured it over snow to taste. Yummy.

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  51. Here in Connecticut I see the buckets are up too... that's quite some sugar shack! ANd I am loving that French Toast recipe!...thanks for sharing.

    Now.. to your family... SHAME ON YOU!!! You're missing out!

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  52. I love that about New England! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  53. Now I understand why real maple syrup is so expensive.

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  54. My uncle was the Dean of the College at Dartmouth for a number of years, and we benefitted by receiving lots of college sweatshirts and maple syrup! I have to say, I think I liked the syrup better! Thanks for teaching the process. I had no idea.

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  55. I'm a southerner too and I have never been to New England, but I go vicariously through your wonderful posts. My mother makes wonderful waffles, and I would use the syrup on top of those. Thanks so much for sharing your adopted home state with us.

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  56. This California girl moved to Maine ten years ago and felt completely "at home" for the first time in her life. Your southern relatives don't know what they are missing! My favorite way to consume maple syrup is generously poured over blueberry pancakes. Wish I had some right now!!!

    I absolutely love your beautiful house, and am riveted by all the details you post about your renovation.

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  57. Hi Joan, Dan, and Ella's families: Oh, there is no reason to not come and visit NH! Most importantly, your family has moved here...don't you want to come and spend time with them, even if they did not have a beautiful, welcoming home, with a kitchen that will put out great meals, they are family! As someone who had to move away from family, because of business, we know what it is like to have no family visit. On top of being able to spend time with your family, we do have lots of great areas to visit, from cities to small towns. There is no bad season to come and visit...remember, you are mainly coming to see family, the rest is the cherry on top! (I bet that they will take you to the restaurant posted for a great breakfast...we love it there!) Cindy

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  58. Hi, Joan,

    I have been researching my family tree and I JUST discovered that we are related. I'll be up next week for a visit. I wanted to add that this took some mighty creative "research" since I don't even know your last name . . .

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  59. Being a Southerner myself, I've got binders full of recipes for dessert-like breakfasts (pecan french toast, anyone?) that are sweet enough on their own but still benefit from just a drop or two of true maple syrup. Definitely decadent, but it helps stretch that precious bottle of syrup! The giveaway ends on my birthday, too, so that would be a great birthday present for me!

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  60. Doesn't it make you wonder who first decided to boil the sap down? We had some very creative pioneers. I purchase a small bottle at TJMaxx for a pear recipe which is delicious. Peggy

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  61. I LOVE maple syrup any way I can get it! I guess first and foremost would be on pancakes but I also love to use it in salad vinaigrettes. Thanks!

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  62. Great post. I love to pour maple syrup over my steel cut Irish oatmeal...yummy! Thanks for the update on Ingrid. She looks very excited to be in sunny Florida.
    Kandy
    Bowling Green, KY

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  63. Joan, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post about how maple syrup was made. I did know how it was made but hadn't thought about it in a long time and this was such an interesting post. It is worth the expense for sure. I have never been to New England but as a Southerner myself I dearly love maple syrup. It truly is the nectar of the Gods and my favorite way to enjoy it is sitting on top of some homemade pancakes with fresh blueberries from our Southern farm and dripping with butter. Not exactly figure friendly but oh so good. I also enjoyed visiting the blog, Lime in the Coconut. I was not surprised at your generosity.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

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  64. I really enjoyed reading that post. I love it when bloggers exmplain things from the area where they live. It reminds of having penpals all over the world when I was a kid. Also, the fact that I love syrup didn't hurt!

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  65. Joan you are too sweet(pardon the pun)....pls enter my name. I like your last way best....over vanilla ice cream YUM

    Thanks for the chance.....

    Kathy
    jokaj@comcast.net

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  66. Hi - I love reading your blog - in fact you have caused me to start collecting blue/white chinese porcelain with a vengeance - loved seeing yours all over the house! Anyway - can't wait to see how the loft room turns out. I really enjoyed the syrup (they say that differently in the north too) story. I use the real stuff when I make my homemade granola - it is so yummy!! I hope I win! Best wishes Karen

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  67. Love your blog. Love maple syrup best over pancakes, but it would be good in baked oatmeal too. And having lived in Dallas and Pittsburgh, I would say your family has to make a trip north. Winters are more glorious than I ever could have imagined (and Pittsburgh has less winter than NH).

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  68. Maple syrup. I would eat it with everything! It is that delicious! But most importantly I would have it over my hubby's homemade pancakes. Yumm.

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  69. This is my first comment and yours is my first blog to follow. Our son is going to college over that way (we are in South) and suddenly we have become very interested. Your blog is soothing! I would treat the maple syrup like liquid gold and carefully allow my children to have it on their brown rice flour waffles (our newest fav.) I have this thing about children wasting maple syrup!!!

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  70. oops! I didn't leave my contact for my post - I;m tellin ya it is my first one here!
    ksoerens@yahoo.com

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  71. I have to say I don't really like maple syrup on its own, but using it in recipes is the best! My husband does love it however on waffles, pancakes, etc. Thanks for the great giveaway and info!

    Amy

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  72. I love this syrup! Ok,don't enter me in your giveaway since we just received a gallon from a neighbor but anyone who wants to try "real" maple syrup this is heaven on earth...ENTER. Plus if you knew the cost of this stuff you would be thrilled to win!

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  73. I agree, New England is very special and very beautiful. I adore maple syrup and like it best over my homemade banana pancakes. Yum! I hope to take my southern husband up to New England one day -- he would love it. I have happy memories of vacations in Vermont and New Hampshire from when I was a teenager (we lived in upstate NY).
    Claudia

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  74. Well it's a good thing I am not a relative, you would probably be tired of my visits by now! ;)
    I love to put maple syrup on homemade waffles!

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  75. I moved from Vermont when I was 16. I live in VA now and I have to say I have ran into a few people who have not even heard of Vermont :(
    I hate how long winter last and that is the only reason why I'm still here in Va. Almost all of my family still lives in Vt and I can tell ya I know hoe you feel about your family not visiting. I guess because there are more up north they just wait on me to come up. Anyway I'm a Syrup snob. I make granola often and I have made it with "fake" stuff one time and it didnt not even tast good, never again. If we do not have the real stuff we use honey till we get more.
    I check your blog daily and today is my first time to leave a comment. Love your blog and your beautiful home.

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  76. Joan -

    As for your southern relatives, well "bless their hearts" they just don't know any better. However - I think once they do make their way to NH you might be stuck with them! Seriously - who would want to leave? Ever!

    As for the maple syrup - we have started a new tradition at our new/old Hudson Valley Farm - Sunday Morning Blueberries Pancakes. I know they wuold be even better with maple syrup from NH!

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  77. Love it! Probably my favorite breakfast is waffles with caramelized pecans (or walnuts), banana, strawberries and of course maple syrup. Sometimes I add margarine if I'm feeling especially naughty. :) Love your post!

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  78. My husband and I visited New England in 1989. We visited a "Sugar Shack" and purchased syrup, maple cream and maple candy on the honor system. So delicious! I only purchase maple syrup now never the corn syrup kind. I bought a quart jug a couple of weeks ago at Whole Foods for $15.99 and that was cheaper than anywhere else! Liquid gold for sure.
    My favorite way to eat it is with pancakes, but I have found it wonderful in coffee or tea with cream.
    Thanks for your post. It brought back some fond memories.

    Judy :)

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  79. Pancakes with peanut butter on them. The best. And we love maple syrup instead of the fake high fructose corn syrup stuff you buy at the store!

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  80. Joan,
    I have barely been able to tear myself away the last few days. I just made my way back for more after Rhoda@SouthernHospitality featured your fabulous kitchen a few months ago..... Repeating others"it's a good thing we're not related bc".... I would be premanently planted in that glorious kitchen....( well, at least til first frost! I feel so cheated I did not know you here in Dallas!
    Loved seeing these wonderful pictures which tell the story so well.... ( and what huge trees!) we were blessed in my hometown of Laf. La. to have a neighbor from Connecticut who brought us some beautiful maple trees.... glorious fall leaves, but they never seemed to really enjoy our wet , and hot weather..
    Back to the question you asked... we love maple syrup over crisp waffles, but what wonderful ideas I've gleaned from other posts here today for pouring over when we win yours! here's hoping!
    Alice A
    ( hartmccart@yahoo.com)

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  81. Wonderful post, thank you! My favorite thing to make with Maple Syrup is Tropical Sweet Potato Soufle'.

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  82. I love authentic New England (or Canadian) pure maple syrup on homemade pancakes! It can't get better than that!

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  83. Mmm, maple syrup is delicious! My husband's family is from Ontario, so they used to bring us some when they came to visit. They haven't brought us any in a while. My Poppa-in-law particularly likes maple syrup on pumpkin pie. I usually stick with pancakes, waffles, or french toast.

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  84. Hi Joan~
    I moved up to New England from San Antonio, Texas 7 years ago. My husband is from New England and I can tell you, as a die hard Texan, I don't think I could ever go back. I live in Maine and I absolutely love it and I love having seasons. :)
    I admit that first winter I thought I was going to freeze to death, and hello, driving in snow? Not so fun. :)
    That being said, Maple Sunday has become a tradition for our family. We love watching the sap being made into syrup, waiting patiently in line for our sample of maple syrup covered ice cream, buying some maple syrup and maple cotton candy. I just love it. There are so many things that my family just doesn't "get". Ice fishing, sledding on the snow mobile, sledding, skiing, fair season, mud season, having a mud room, getting wood for the winter, the list goes on and on and I love every minute of it. So from one Texan to another, don't you just love New England? :)

    Lauren

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  85. Such a fan of real maple syrup...and I'm from the South and will visit anytime!!

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  86. I love your posts!!!! I've always wanted to know about the making of maple syrup...thank-you. My favorite memories with maple syrup are made during the summers, when I make my famous "heart shaped pancakes" for breakfast for all my family and friends that stay at my little "Dove cottage" tucked away in Western NY...Michelle-mkg211@aol.com

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  87. Hi Joan,

    I loved reading your post and the wonderful photos. I spent many years in new England, but sadly never made it to the Sugar Shack. We use real maple syrup every morning on french toast for my kids. This has been going on for months now...any day that could change, but I have to say maple syrup on vanilla ice cream sounds delish!!

    annie

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  88. I live in upstate NY and we do have a sugaring season, too. My husband and I would like to find a small farmhouse with a barn, for our next adventure, time to leave suburbia. Your blog is very inspirational!

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  89. I would love to pour it on my homemade belgian waffle!!

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  90. While living in the Pacific NW we discovered Snoqualmie Falls pancake mix. It was voted best pancake mix in the nation on Good Morning America. We adore it and it's perfect with maple syrup.

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  91. Love this post, thank you! Living in Australia our most easily accessible maple syrup comes from Canada... would love to know what the New Hampshire maple syrup tastes like in comparison. We have ours every Saturday morning on a tall stack of pancakes with a side of raspberries! Georgie x

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  92. Bonjour Joan,
    I tasted canadian maple syrup on pancakes and vanylla ice cream too,it's delicious!
    Here in France,I live in the southern district near the Italian Riviera border, we can find it just on the "grand surfaces" the Mall in english.
    I would like try it on the Homemade Banana Bread,it'll give a little note of special New England taste!
    Best Wishes, Irene

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  93. oh my mouth is watering. i loved everything about this post!!

    -stacy
    stacyleaw@yahoo.com

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  94. I grew up in New England for 33 years before I met my husband. We got married and have lived in AZ, NM, Japan, RI (back "home"!), and now Germany. One of the things that I miss the most is the syrup! I do always make sure I stock up and I will eat nothing but 100% pure maple sugar! How I envy you! I love to see the maple syrup buckets haning and even have them around my home for holding mittens, scarves and paintbrushes!
    I love you site! It's always a little bit of home for me. I wanted to reply to your power loss post because while unsettling for adults, I have very fond memories of times when our power went out! Playing games, cuddling by the fire, cooking potatoes in tinfoil in the fireplace and listening to the battery operated radio.
    Thanks again, your blog cures my homesickness for a bit of "home".
    Molly
    PS I have been gone for 11 years and I still call New England "home".

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  95. After reading this post I appreciate every drop even more than I did before! We also use Pure Maple Syrup instead of sugar and found that our traditional Fried Apples recipe tastes even better! It even carmelizes like the brown sugar we used to use! Just core and slice a bunch of fall apples, put them in a frying pan with some butter, add Maple Syrup, cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and a little vanilla right before serving. This is great with a dinner of pork chops and red potatoes - or on ice cream (or BOTH!) YUM!

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  96. I'm from the south and if your peeps won't come and visit I'd be glad to!! they don't know what they're missing!!
    I love Maple Syrup on good ol' pancakes. I also made a decidant Ina Garden french toast casserole for Christmas that was smothered in Maple Syrup...sinful.
    I love your blog and especially love the pictures and stories of your home. Fabulous!!

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  97. When I was in 5th grade, I won the science fair with my project: The Making of Maple Syrup spelled S-I-R-O-P the french way. My southern CT judges were impressed by all the equipment my grandpa gave me from his farm in Quebec. One of my best days!

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  98. I would definitely use it on homemade waffles. Yum! Thanks for your beautiful blog!! Maureen mb99999@yahoo.com

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  99. Joan..I must say that even though you have become a "yankee'....at least you haven't forgotten the lingo of the south "my people" ;)....and "your people" need to git up thar!.... k

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  100. Hubby makes me pancakes every Saturday morning (yes I am spoiled) and I would use it on them. I can't believe you family doesn't visit all the time! New England is gorgeous and the South is... well...you know.

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  101. I think my children would beg to move if they saw this post! What a delicious post :)

    xo
    Brooke

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  102. I think I should win this contest since I am your sweetest sister! OF COURSE, you know we want to come but are waiting until your home is finished so we won't distract you and Dan too much!! We miss you and Dan and Ella something crazy and your beautiful home would only be a bonus to the visit. Be forewarned thought, we may never leave!

    I love y'll,
    Susan

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  103. I visited New England a few years ago and absolutely loved it. The beautiful color change in the fall and just the general feeling....My favorite places were New Hampshire and Maine, the rocky shores.

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  104. I like to heat it gently and add blueberries to the pan and pour it over homemade buckwheat pancakes.....In fact I'm doing that this Saturday for my granddaughters birthday supper!!! Yummmmm

    Love your blog
    Linda
    mymalachi@aol.com

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  105. I love maple syrup on Overnight French Toast...an old Southern Living favorite. Italian bread, cut, soaked over night in OJ, Milk, Sugar, Eggs, Cinnamon...then baked in the morning on a pan with about 1 stick of melted butter. Cook 10 or so minutes on 400 and then flip. AHHHHH! They get good and crunchy!

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  106. JOAN!!!
    What beautiful pictures - makes me miss Maine Maple Sunday so much! There was a sugar shack up the road from where I lived and I would mark my calendar as they served so many delicious maple syrup delectables!
    AND Mike and I just finished off the maple syrup you sent - just this past weekend over our spelt walnut pancakes. We actually had to get our old bottle of maple syrup out to enjoy our last few bites and found ourselves experiencing a taste test! Yours won!!!
    Big hugs,
    Trina

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  107. My favorite way to enjoy maple syrup is with french bread and cheddar cheese. It sounds weird, I know! It is something my dad always had growing up and he got me hooked on it too. He likes cane syrup with his, but that's too sweet for my taste. It's so delicious, especially if the french bread is warm. Also, the cheese has to be cut off of a block.

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  108. First of all: shame on your family for not visiting you! I'm from Dallas and would love an excuse to visit the New England area. Thankfully though, both my husband's and my family live close by. ;) Hmmm....my favorite way to use maple syrup? I think my favorite way thus far is over my whole wheat waffles (using coconut oil instead of shortening). They delicious! I like eating them with fresh fruit. Just had some yesterday...and I always am so careful not to put too much M.S. on them cause it's so expensive here and I want it to last! I do LOVE the real thing though....and would love to win!

    Blessings to you and your beautiful home,
    Gail (thenurturednest.blogspot.com)

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  109. I am the Connecticut yankee stuck in central Texas!! Oh my goodness, your pictures make me so homesick!!
    I probably won't stand a chance of winning the maple syrup...I never win anything, so please eat a BUNCH for me!!!
    Many thanks for your always wonderful blog!
    (I still think you should have bought the house in Suffield :^)
    Blessings,
    J
    jbmusik at yahoo dot com

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  110. I love my house but if I couldn't live in my house I would totally want to come live in YOURS (and I mean this in the most complimentary and non-stalking way possible. Really. :)

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  111. Your post makes me dream of visiting New England now, also makes me think of maple syrup over vanilla ice cream. Thanks for sharing!

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  112. This was an annual school trip for me and for all my kids as well. They loved going to our local nature center and then got some maple candy at the end. I love my maple syrup on home made French toast - Barefoot Contessa has a great recipe!!. It's also fabulous on slow cooked bacon in the oven - THAT is a REAL treat!!

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  113. UMMMMMMmmmmm - New England real maple syrup over Pumpkin Pecan Spice waffles. My favorite!

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  114. Ahh, we have the same maple syrup collecting here in northern Michigan too! It is good stuff! The french toast recipe looks yummy! Enjoyable post!

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  115. I just popped over from Alison's @ The Polohouse. Maple syrup is a favorite here. In fact my post on Thursday was highlighting a favorite maple syrup.
    We like it on pancakes and French toast. Yum! ~ Sarah

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  116. What a great blog. I love maple syrup and my primary use is for the pancakes and waffles I make my kids on the weekends! I also love it in salad dressing

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  117. My new favorite way to enjoy maple syrup might just be over vanilla ice cream! Maple Syrup will alway, always remind me of Sunday mornings when my mom would make home-made waffles from scratch. She used (and still does) the JOY of cooking recipe. YUM!
    xo
    Melissa

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  118. I am so happy that I found your blog, a friend of mine and I have decided that when we retire, we will leave our husbands and move to New England, well not really, but we both think we would love it up there! HA After reading just this one post, I know that I am going to love following your blog everyday! Your home is beautiful! And I love Maple syrup with sausage links, ha! Thanks for sharing! Sue

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  119. Ok, so I am a fellow Dallas girl who is suffering from "maple syrup envy"!!

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  120. I'm in the south but I have always longed to visit or live in New England. I've never had real maple syrup (aunt jemima doesn't count, right?) but I think the idea of having it over ice cream sounds wonderful! Or I like it with sausage. But I'm weird. Thanks! Christy armyscrapwife (at) gmail (dot) com

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  121. Don't want to enter the giveaway, we have plenty of syrup in these parts. We tap about 100 trees in our neighborhood here in NY, but my husband's family still runs a large "sugar Shack" in NH, they tap about 16,000 trees. Life has brought us to NY, but someday, we will make our way back to NH. I am a follower now so at least I can follow your journey!

    Take care, Laura

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  122. Mmmmmmm... I love maple syrup.. I have a gallon in my frig right now that friends made.. If I win, I'll have to send it to my dad in Texas.. I imagine he would love it..

    Im a Texan living in Ohio and none of my family have been up here either..and I've been here 13 years. They have no idea of what they're missing.. I havent been to New England but I shall one of these days.. I know I will love it completely.. as I do NE Ohio, Pa & NY.

    I love your posts.. they just feel so right..

    We enjoy a really fun Maple Festival in Burton Ohio every spring.. They also sell Maple Stirs where you get a little cup/bowl of hot maple syrup and you stir stir stir it with a popsicle stick until it hardens into a mass of maple candy... YUM. Honestly though.. I prefer to let it thicken a little bit, then eat the thick warm syrup. ;)

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  123. First! You need'nt add me to the giveaway because I am still working on the gallons of maple syrup I bought in VT back in 2007! I may need to get more next year but that's fine.

    2nd. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through a majority of your home renovation. I have been there tho not on that scale and with a small mid-Atlantic Victorian. The Agony and the Ecstasy! Even now though, I look at the house and think...what if we..??? and then nip that thought in the bud!

    I believe I need to follow you to see how you and your house come along. ;-)

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  124. I was born and raised in Dallas, and moved to Waterville, ME 6.5 yrs ago! I sooooo "get" everything you write about! I also have many family members that have yet to visit! :( So I will tell your family "shame on you" ;) You are missing out on a BEAUTIFUL part of the counrty! Its like a whole other world --i Believe that quote is from the "Texas commercials" ;)--PS-- I f I won the syrup Id use it to make pizza dough. You use it in place of the sugar in the recipe--SO YUMMY!!! :)

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  125. I hereby reprimand your people for not visiting you in New England. I'm afraid that this Missouri girl would be camping out on your doorstep! I don't think that I have ever had true maple syrup, but I would love to try it! Have a great weekend...

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  126. We love maple syrup on either pancakes, french toast or waffles, one of which my husband makes every Saturday morning. Another great way to use maple syrup is to baste the Thanksgiving turkey. It makes a delicious gravy!

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  127. Love your blog! We live in New Hampshire, too; I've been trying to figure out which town you are in, lol! We love real maple syrup here, and we've watched people making maple syrup. Yum!!

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  128. I just discovered your wonderful blog and want to say hello from a fellow city-escapee who is now enjoying country life (Brooklyn in my case) in way waaay Upstate NY.

    I did grow up in Maine (so I understand your New England love), but didn't experience sugaring until moving here a year ago. What an interesting, not to mention delicious, process!

    Well just wanted to say hey! Lovely house too, btw.

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  129. As a native Vermonter now living in Massachusetts I have been eating maple syrup my entire life and will never eat the "faux" stuff, yuck :)

    One of my pet peeves is when you see those small painted, dinged and distressed buckets being sold as sap buckets. They hold less than a quart , the farmer would have to empty the far too often and I don't see them taking the time to paint them!

    I am glad that you are loving New England; it is a special and unique place.

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  130. lovely post. ive always hungered for the history of the south. being a california girl until i was 29 and now in arizona. would love that yummy liquid they worked so hard for.

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  131. Joan,
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us..Maple syrup is great on buckwheat pancakes and look forward to trying on ice cream...We also have the honor system in our small county in central Illinois. We are the peninsula between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers where they come together. We hail as the Apple Kingdom and now barn quilts (86) and counting.Thanks for sharing..

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  132. My mother used to say I was born two weeks late and have been late for everything ever since. Hence, I just came across this blog you posted five years ago. No one else mentioned our favorite way to use maple syrup. Cut any winter squash (acorn, butternut, Hubbard, etc.) in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut into single serving size portions. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with butter. Drizzle with maple syrup. Bake according to the directions in your cookbook, or on the internet, for the type of squash you're using. You can also sprinkle some pecans on top of the syrup but wait till they've been baking a while so the pecans don't burn. Alternately, you can just poke a couple of holes in a squash to let the steam escape and bake them whole. Cut them open when done; scoop out the seeds; scoop the squash out of the skin and mash it with salt and pepper in an oven-proof bowl. I sometimes add a little milk, half and half or cream when I mash it. Then dot with butter and drizzle maple syrup over the top and heat in a 350 degree oven until the squash is reheated through.
    Someone asked how the first settlers thought to cook down the sap into syrup. They didn't. The Native Americans taught them how to do it.

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  133. Dear Joan,

    I came across your blog recently via one of the many internet 'wormholes' and I cannot remember which one! I often click on pictures that I like and after one of yours I went to the blog (perhaps it was on Instagram). I have been reading and taking in the beauty of your home, marveling at your foresight and vision for this spectacular New Hampshire property, and being transported to a virtual sanctuary that you now call home. (These words don't do my feelings justice!)

    NH is my home and through life changes and to be near my grandchild I moved to California. I adore your pictures of the changing seasons, especially fall and winter (-winter is my favorite). As you can imagine, I miss it terribly in this no-snow NorCal!

    I visit friends and relatives each year and I always bring back NH maple syrup. I chuckled at your picture because I save my empty ones just for that label! (Years ago when we bought syrup it was in metal can like your sweet syrup. We'd make openings with a can opener and pour the contents in a glass syrup container, which you might come across in your antiquing. :)

    I have spent the last few days reading your home-love journey and when I came to this one I just had to write. You and Dan are home angels! Your vignettes, scenery and design sense just take my breath away. They spurred me to head to my local antique shop and while I did not buy anything I thought of your eye for things as I picked out a favorite pastoral picture, plant stand for "my porch", white pitcher for a regular procession of flower bouquets, and turned over all the silverplate items I could find to see if they were hotel silver! Fun! (I may go back for the picture; it is listed as a chalk picture and I wasn't sure if it is original so I will ask, considering the price.)

    Heartfelt thanks to you and Dan for sharing not only your home but the beauty of NH online for homesick folks like me! I don't think I am bias when I say that NH is the most beautiful place in the world. ;)

    After so much reading I feel like I know you, so {big hug}!!

    xo, Nicole

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