Sunday, April 1, 2012


Guessing time:

It's sweet.  It's super sappy.  It looks awfully sticky.  It involves copious references to "Amber."

Did you guess?

It's a blog post about a family outing!  (Oh...and it's maple syrup too.)  

For the second year in a row we were lucky enough to have Bryan's folks join us on our annual drive to Critz Farms in Cazenovia during their maple celebration.  Purportedly we do this over and over because it's a great way to learn about where our food comes from (they have tours of the sugar house and the sugar bush) and about local agriculture (if you're going to live in the northeast you ought to know about maple syrup, right??), but we've done it enough years now it's probably time to be honest: we do it for the breakfast.

Part of the maple celebration is an all-you-can-eat breakfast with blueberry pancakes, french toast, eggs, maple-soaked ham, hash browns, juice, cocoa, and limitless real maple syrup, with as many ingredients (flour, eggs, ham, etc.) coming from local farms as possible.  The breakfast costs a few dollars, but we talk about it all year long.  Especially about the syrup.  I'm sure we eat more than our admission in syrup alone within minutes.  The rest of the year we settle for the thick gloppy brown concoction  found at Aldi, but for one wonderful Saturday morning we drown our pancakes in runny rivers of real syrup squeezed from amber-colored squirt bottles at each table.  The breakfast is served in some sort of old out-building, but I have to admit, sitting there all together as a family, tummies full, fingers sticky, and cool country air blowing around us, it feels kind of like heaven. 

Katie hard at work on her breakfast.  Bryan's sister, along with her 3-year-old daughter and brand-new baby, were also able to join us this year.  You can see the super cute car seat cover she pieced for her little baby in the background.

I spy syrup eaters!  Amber loved how all the different colors of syrup were labeled with her name: "dark amber" "medium amber" and "light amber." 

Robyn and Grandpa Gordon.  Not sure why Robyn has two spoons...all the easier to shovel it in perhaps?
Playing with sticks while waiting for the tractor out to the sugar bush.  Think it's time to take back the birthday presents and start shopping at the Stick Emporium for this one: I think she could have played like this for hours!

Picture of the girls with their cousin and Daddy/Uncle Bryan.  It was so fun to have another little girl come along!

Last year we nearly froze to death riding out to see how they tap the trees.  This year the early spring hurt the farm (they only had FIVE days of sap flow!) but it sure made it pleasant for us. 

They also have a nice set of playgrounds at the farm.  Grandpa Gordon indulged Katie in pushes long after the rest of the girls had run off to check out the crazy slides at the other end of the park.

I remember one of the first times we came here Amber was younger than Katie and we tried to send her down one of these long slides on her own.  I was pretty sure we'd scarred her for life: glad I was wrong.

Katie deciding maybe this slide is a little TOO ambitious for her...

Robyn just being Robyn.

And, last of all, a cute picture Robyn took of her cousin on the ride home.  Maybe we can convince them to come play again next year: I'm already craving more syrup!


  1. How fun! Traditions like that are the best. We need to find something like that to do here in Utah.

  2. How fun! Traditions like that are the best. We need to find something like that to do here in Utah.

  3. That was a 'sweet' weekend in more than one way!!

  4. That was a 'sweet' weekend in more than one way!!