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Maple Syrup and Chickadees

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This week's article comes from Kitchener - Waterloo where my family and I, and Steffy (the Rotary Exchange Student) are spending part of the March Break.  This is our 5th or 6th March Break Adventure to this part of the province.  We have a number of really great friends who live in this area who host us and take us on all kinds of adventures.  This year has included some downhill skiing, a day trip to Niagara Falls,  working in the bush to make maple syrup, some shopping, a movie,  lots of games and of course really great food and wonderful company.   

Our friend, Razz, who we were staying with works for the Waterloo Board of Ed as an outdoor educator and so every year he makes maple syrup and teaches the students  about the entire process.  We love to go and help tap the trees, collect the sap, carry the fire wood and smell the sap cooking.   It is such a lovely way to spend  time outdoors in the  warm end of winter days.  Of course, bringing home bottles of maple syrup is also a big treat.  Maple syrup (and honey) are the best natural sweeteners that we can eat and our family consumes a lot of it in a year.  We'll talk about this adventure every time we have pancakes or French toast over the next few months.    At this outdoor centre, where we make the syrup,  there is a beautiful pond and a spot where there are bird feeders.  Hundreds of chickadees and other birds feed all day long.   Razz sent us down to the pond with a big bucket of sun flower seeds and told us to take down the bird feeder and hold the seeds in our hands. It was a beautiful sunny day and so down we went and we had an incredible experience.   I have been teasing Steffy that she became  a human bird feeder.  Chickadees were landing in both of her hands and on her head (yes we put seeds in her hair).   There were 6 of feeding (standing very very still) and hundreds of birds flitted around us and ate out of our hands.  It was the most magical experience.  We feed the birds all winter but never get this close to them.  It tickles when they land on your hand (or my stomach - I was trying to be  a human buffet and spread seeds across my stomach and onto my face).   My friend Razz often experienced a chickadee taking a seed right out of his teeth.  These simple adventures that are so enjoyable are such a good reminder that we don't have to go far to have a good time.   We live in a beautiful province and there are so many possibilities.  

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