Sweet Day at the Sugar Shack
The sap was running on a rainy morning recently as the kindergarten classes at Triton Elementary School boarded the buses for the “Sugar Shack.”
The Sugar Shack is a small building on Billie and Jeff Cowell’s property in rural Claremont. It is there that the sap collected from the maple trees is boiled down into syrup.
Every year, Billie Cowell, who is the food service director for the Triton School Districts, invites the kindergarten classes to visit their home for a first hand look at how a favorite product is made.
The exact date the youngsters can visit is dependent on when the sap is running enough that the Cowell’s have enough to boil down in syrup. The timing, the youngsters were told, depends on the weather, days that are getting warmer but with nights that are still cold.
For the sap to run, daytime temperatures need to be above freezing while they must dip below the freezing mark overnight.
This rainy Tuesday morning proved to be just right as they loaded into buses, two classes at a time, for the short trip to the Cowell’s home.
First stop was at property where the Cowell’s collect some of their sap.
A spout is drilled into the tree that then flows into the container.
“We don’t use pails to collect the sap,” Jeff Cowell explained as the students looked at the bags hanging from the trees.
People are not the only ones who like the sap coming out of the trees, he explained. Birds, squirrels and deer also find it to their liking.