Maple dreams come true

As far as I can remember, I had always dreamed about taking part in the maple ceremony of sucking the maple sap from a maple tree.This year my dreams came true — I was blessed with visiting The Kortright Centre for Conservation, which is one of few farms in Ontario where maple syrup is collected from sugar maple trees.

The procedure of collecting maple syrup is plain:

  1. tap the sugar trees
  2. collect maple sap
  3. evaporate water from the sap
  4. enjoy your syrup

Production methods have been streamlined since colonial days, yet remain basically unchanged. Sap must first be collected and boiled down to obtain pure syrup without chemical agents or preservatives. Maple syrup is made by boiling between 20 and 50 litres (5.3 and 13 US gal) of sap (depending on its concentration) over an open fire until 1 litre (0.26 US gal) of syrup is obtained, usually at a temperature 4.1 °C (7.4 °F) over the boiling point of water. Syrup can be boiled entirely over one heat source or can be drawn off into smaller batches and boiled at a more controlled temperature. (emphases Alex’s)

While meandering along the sugar bushes, I had a neat idea of setting up the maple business. What you hafta do in this business, I thought, is strictly following the above mentioned the four-step routine. It was my maple dream which had no chance to come true — the instructor evaporated it from my mind. She told me that if I were about to become a maple fat cat, I would have to wait for 40! years, at least, to reap the very first maple harvest — that is how long it takes the sugar trees to grow.

Maples are usually tapped beginning at 30 to 40 years of age. Each tree can support between one and three taps, depending on its trunk diameter. The average maple tree will produce 35 to 50 litres (9.2 to 13 US gal) of sap per season, up to 12 litres (3.2 US gal) per day. This is roughly equal to 7% of its total sap. Seasons last for four to eight weeks, depending on the weather. During the day, starch stored in the roots for the winter rises through the trunk as sugary sap, allowing it to be tapped.Sap is not tapped at night because the temperature drop inhibits sap flow, although taps are typically left in place overnight.Some producers also tap in autumn, though this practice is less common than spring tapping. Maples can continue to be tapped for sap until they are over 100 years old.

That is basically all that I was about to share with you. If you want to witness some sugary pictures of the trip, you are welcome to click on any number down there — each number leads to a picture from the trip. Bye for now.

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And the people eventually gone

Simcha Rabba, Simcha Rabba, Aviv Hee’gee’ah, Pesach Bah!
♦♦♦
[rough translation]
There’s a Great Joy, There’s a Great Joy
Spring has come, Passover has come!
♦♦♦

Many people all over the world are blessed of holding both Jewish and Christian holidays within one week. Today we meet Passover, the most important, in my opinion, day for all Jewish people.

The word Pesach [HEB], comes from a Hebrew word PaSaCH which means PASSED OVER which is a literal translation of Passover.

I am sure that the history of Passover is widely publicized in tones of media sources. Being exposed to those stories in the media on almost on a yearly basis, I have found that they are pretty lengthy and indigestible, in a sense. Thus I came to my own short interpretation of the holiday.

To make a long story short, Jews were living in Egypt and cried out to the local Pharaoh that he would let the people go, as it described in the following song.

Needless to say that Moses‘s appeals to the Pharaoh weren’t heard — the ruler despised the Jewish longing for freedom. Then Jews had nothing to do but complain to God about the injustice. Being a Jewish God, the God sent 10 plagues to Egypt, on the spur of the moment.

Having tested nine plagues out of set of the ten, Pharaoh hadn’t been convinced of the reason why he should have allowed Jews to go. At that point both Jews and God were sick and tired of the Pharaoh’s stupid obduracy — the Pharaoh wasn’t aware that God were with Jews. So, when all nine plagues failed to bring to reason that pour Pharaoh, God had reluctantly to come down to killing all firstborns in Egypt. It’s important to mention that playing on the side of the Jews, God revealed to them a catch of the last plague — the tenth one.

This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. (Exodus 11:4-6)

God told Moses that in order to all Jewish firstborns to survive the Jews had to mark lamb’s blood on their doorposts so that Angel of Death would PASS OVER that home. Jews did what God told them and, subsequently, escaped the blind rage of God in His 10the plague; the Pharaoh was a moron and got what he paid for.

Not sooner had the Pharaoh changed his mind and let that people go before he tasted the tenth plague.

Eventually the people gone… That’s basically the story of Passover.

The joy of the holiday comes from the fact that Passover was a crucial event in Jewish history; it was a day of birth a Jewish nation. In my view, Passover is one of few Jewish holidays when both religious and secular Jews draw round the table.

Bonus: Listen to the two-part podcast chewing over the exodus of Jews from Egypt.

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Life without pennies

The very question of today tonight is what our life will look like without penis pennies.

The government of Canada has announced that Canadian one-cent coin, the penny, will be eliminated soon. With the penny’s demise we all are in danger of losing the vernacular of Canada.

In the past 15 years it’s lost its copper, its usage and its cost-effectiveness – the butt of jokes and bane of neat freaks well before its end became official in Thursday’s federal budget.

True, If the penny is gone today what we are about to put in, had the need arisen? In order to get my mind right I have to clarify what we suppose to put in when we are in need to express our opinion? Up till now I’ve been pretty comfortable with sticking my two cents in whenever I wanted. So if the penny has made a history, should we put in two Loonies and/or one Toonie instead of two cents?

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