If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


February Interviews













2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar


Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson

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WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.


Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!


KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.


Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.


Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.



Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

IT''S MAPLE SYRUP TIME


This is one of my paintings when I was painting before writing.

In a recent article in my local newspaper I learned that maple syrup is a big business in Ohio. I guess I should have known that because almost every year friends and I went to Chardon, Ohio to visit various sugar camps and watch them make maple syrup as well as buy what they’d already made. There are 900 producers in Ohio.

It was in that article I found there were two families in my township of Southington who are making maple syrup here. Addresses weren’t given so I’m not sure where they live. I know some time ago the neighbor just to the south of me was making maple syrup by tapping his trees in his woods next to my woods.
Karl Evans, another Trumbull County maple producer, is the vice president of The Ohio Maple Producers Association. It started as a hobby thirty-four years ago and now has about 4,000 taps and produces anywhere from 900 to 1,800 gallons. Because producers rely on a cycle of freeze and thaw, cold nights followed by warmer days, they’re not so sure they’ll get much maple syrup this year because we’ve had a lot of warm days and nights for this time of year followed by a few really cold days.
The Amish use horses

This article brought back memories of my childhood when my grandfather tapped maple trees back in the woods on the west side of his property. He had an old sugar house close to the woods were he had the big metal trough high enough to have a fire underneath it to boil the sap. My father would take turns evenings with grandpa’s sons to keep the fire going all night. I also remember grandpa pulling a wagon behind his tractor onto wagon paths into the woods to pour the buckets of sap from taps on the trees into larger containers to take back to the sugar house.

Eventually, Grandpa gave up on making maple syrup and the old sugar house became a shack with broken boards and the old sugar house was torn down because the fields leading to it had been turned into corn fields.


My other memory of making maple syrup is when my oldest son John was a teenager, and he and his friend across the street started tapping trees in the woods behind the neighbor boy’s home. The first batch was made by his friend. I’m not sure how much syrup he got, but the next batch was to be John’s. So I started boiling it for John while he was in school and when it almost got down to turning into maple syrup, I had my parents and a sister over for a Sunday dinner as I did almost every other Sunday. I put to the large pot off to one side on the kitchen counter. Later I discovered that after dinner either my mom or my sister dumped it thinking it was juice I didn’t need for the pot roast dinner we’d had. So that was the end of John’s making maple syrup.


I have a lot of maple trees in my woods and some in my front yard, but I’ve never considered tapping them. I know it takes a lot of buckets like 50 gallons of sap which is 2% sugar to make one gallon of syrup. I’d rather just go north to some of the places that make and sell maple syrup than put all that work into making it myself. Also today’s producers have different machines to help them make it like a reverse osmosis system that pumps the sap at a high pressure into the filter system, forcing water out of the sap and reducing the boiling time needed. From there it goes to the evaporator to be boiled down with syrup that is 66 percent sugar.

I also discovered that sugar is graded along a scale from lighter to darker syrup. There is no process that makes it lighter or darker. A lot of it depends on the time of the year. Also, I knew that it can be made into maple candies, but I didn’t know they also made it into maple apple butter, or something like maple hot pepper jam and other things. I did find out where some maple sugar makers sell their products, but I’m thinking of taking my granddaughter and her little ones up to Chardon to see them making the maple sugar one of these days. That is if those businesses are still there after all these years since I’ve been there.



Have you ever watched maple syrup being made?

10 comments:

Kait said...

Yum! Nothing tastes better than fresh maple syrup. This brings back memories of childhood and ladling bits of syrup into the snow to harden it. A child's delight.

We have a lot of sugar maple trees on our Maine property but so far, we've resisted the impulse to tap them.

Jim Jackson said...

My northern home has plenty of sugar maple trees and neighbors have made some excellent syrup, but I'm not usually around at the right time.

I groaned when I read about John's syrup being thrown out, but I can certainly see how it could happen.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, I have maple trees in my front yard and in my woods, but I don't want to take the time
to tap them, either. It's much easier just to buy them.

Jim, I'm sure when you do come home to Michigan there are a lot of places to buy maple syrup. I don't remember John complaining about it, but I'm sure he probably did, but not when his grandparents were there.

Warren Bull said...

I've never had the experience, but I would like to.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, do they have maple sugaring in Oregon? If so you could at least go and observe it.

KM Rockwood said...

We have two maple sugaring festivals around--one is this weekend, and I intend to go.

I remember reading about a family whose maple sugar operation was raided when one of those new-to-rural-living transplants reported it as a drug operation to the state police.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

So interesting, Gloria! I remember the NE Ohio maple sugaring farms.

Gloria Alden said...

Kathleen enjoy the festival. I haven't seen any information of one going on up in
Chardon this year. That must have really upset the family making maple syrup. I
assume the police realized that they weren't doing drugs.

Margaret, They are good, aren't they Margaret. I hope they have a festival soon,
but I think it's been rather touch and go on how much sap they'll get with the
changes in weather from 70 degrees spring like to bitter cold.

Shari Randall said...

This sounds like so much fun to watch. I don't know of any maple sugaring places near me - Connecticut may be too warm.
Poor John - all that work!

Gloria Alden said...


Shari, they probably have some further north in your state. I don't remember him complaining all that much. Actually, they would empty the buckets into a bigger bucket and put the other one back on the thing they stuck in the tree that the sap comes out of into the bucket. I can't remember what it was called. Probably just a spout. I just read in the newspaper they're having some pancake breakfasts in Chardon with maple syrup and sausages, etc. for the next four Sundays.