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


Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of June!

June 6 Maggie Toussaint, Confound It

June 13 Nicole J. Burton, Swimming Up the Sun

June 20 Julie Mulhern, Shadow Dancing

June 27 Abby L. Vandiver, Debut author, Secrets, Lies, & Crawfish Pies


Our June Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 6/2--Joanne Guidoccio, 6/9 Julie Mulhern, 6/16--Margaret S. Hamilton, 6/23--Kait Carson, and 6/30--Edith Maxwell.


Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/


Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)


Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:


Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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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 Turkevich 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.