Sweetening up for the Spring

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Short and sweet (get it) blog post for all of you out there today. I just wanted to share a recent fun adventure I had through work recently. As the title may imply (and the video to the left of this!), I’m talking about doing one of the quintessential springtime activities one can take part in around these here parts at this time of year. No, not spring cleaning, but heading out to a sugar bush! Now I for one have no real idea why it’s called a sugar bush, but since that’s what anglos seem to call them, I’ll stick to that for my post. Our executive director wanted to celebrate our accomplishments over the past few months, and suggested this. Who was I to say no? Now, before you get your panties in a knot, don’t worry, no public funds were used. We always have to pay our own way for these things. If’ you’d like to see how I roll at a work function, head over to flickr and look at the pictures I took. You’ll note I managed to squeeze in a couple beers. After all, it was after noon. When done, read on for a little more.

Since we were going during work hours, we tried to find a place which we could get to from the office without too great a difficulty, and ended up choosing the ‘Palais Gomme’, which is pretty close to Buckingham, about 30 minutes from the office. I wasn’t sure what to expect, it being the middle of a work day and all, but let me tell you, the place was a mad house! There were tons of people, as well as live entertainment and plenty to eat. In fact, the whole scene reminded me a lot of Oktoberfests of years gone by in good ole Kitchener-Waterloo. I had the urge to start singing German drinking songs and putting on some leiderhosen . Fear not though, I held back. However, this kind of environment certainly put everyone in a pretty good mood as we waited for our food.

And speaking of the food… it was plentiful. We started the meal off wth a nice bowl of thick pea soup with bread. Shortly after that, heaps of other communal dishes were stacked around each group of 4 to 6 of us. Pork rinds, pancakes,fritata -like eggs (really thick), ham, sausages, beans, and roasted potatoes. Of course, there was also plenty of maple syrup to smother it all. Delicious. I and my co-worker Cory had an impromptu pork-rind eating contest, as we couldn’t seem to stop stuffing it in our faces. Eventually we called a truce. After the main course, there was also a desert course of little sugar tarts and a cake with maple sauce on top. I struggled through the cake, but had to admit defeat on the tarts, instead opting to wrap a couple up to take home to poor Jody, who was jealous, since she’s never been to a sugar bush.

I don’t know if I was the only one expecting a formal tour of the operations or something, but the staff on site looked at me kind of strange when I asked about it. Apparently, this wasn’t to be an educational tour after all. Too bad. Luckily, in my childhood I’d had some instruction on how it all goes down 🙂 However, the fun wasn’t quite over. After the food had settled a bit (or rather, while it was settling), we headed back outdoors to the splendid day.There was an optional add-on of a sleigh ride, as well as the traditional ‘tire’ of syrup poured over snow and wrapped on a stick. Yup, that’s right, EVEN MORE sugar for ActiveSteve! I’ll leave it to all your imaginations just how wired I was by that point 🙂

I hadn’t planned on doing the sleigh ride, but another co-worker (thanks Martha) offered to pay for me, since she didn’t want to go alone. However, in the end, the power of the crowd won over the majority of our my immediate group. So off we went, dashing through the somewhat snow on a two-horse open sleigh. It wasn’t the most amazing thing ever, but the two horses pulling our sleigh were pretty impressive (Clydesdales), and the dog tagging along behind was entertaining as well. We saw where the sap is collected, and learned that the sleigh ride goes year round. So while we felt bad for the muddy spots, we were told it was actually a break for them when compared to the summer, when they drag the sleigh over grass and rocks! Crazy.

Well, I said short and sweet, so that’s it for me on this tale. I had a good time, and the smell of spring in the air was very palatable. Looking forward to communing with nature even more than I have been the past few months. Stay sweet kids, and talk to you all soon!

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