Monday, March 28, 2005

Maine: the way life should be

Maine Maple Sunday is always the fourth Sunday in March, but this year, Easter happened to fall on this sweet day. The maple makers got together and discussed what to do about it, arguing that this important day (intended to spur business for the small farmers) might be lessened by the ressurection of Christ.

Apparently the 10 or 15 members of the Maple Association of Southern Maine could not agree on a solution. Some wanted to change Maple Sunday to the previous weekend, some wanted to move it to the following weekend. Others decided to open their doors on Saturday instead, or in addition. And some decided to ignore the alternative holiday and stick with their desegnated Maple Sunday.

The result is that I was able to attend two different open maple houses, and partake in all the associated goodness. The first place offered free vanilla ice cream with maple syrup topping (delicious!) and a horse-drawn cart ride (the horses are named Mike and Mikey), and a tour of the evaporator that produces the syrup. I bought a pint of syrup and two maple moose lollipops. I've been assured that's two maple meese.

The second day, we arrived bright and early in hopes of getting some maple sugar candy. Unfortunately, the closest thing they had was moose balls, which are smaller than I expected. (Meese are big!) Moose balls are maple sugar candy covered in chocolate. I haven't tasted them yet, but I expect them to be not quite as good as maple sugar candy by itself, nor chocolate by itself. They did, however, offer breakfast: ploies (singular is ploy; I wish I could find a description, but Google tells me they don't exist-- they're pancake-like things, but bigger and spongier) with maple syrup and orange juice. Very yummy. Also, instead of horses to pull their maple cart (that's a cart that holds barrels of maple sap, not a cart made of maple sap), they had St. Bernards, which were very cute, basking in the sun. Quite randomly, they also had a portable saw mill, which is beyond description. Let's just say that it drew hoards of gruff men who enjoy doing manly things like driving tractors, cutting down trees, and sawing wood.

And that was just one part of my wonderful weekend in Maine, "Vacationland".

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