ROCKPORT, Maine — The sub-freezing cold one afternoon last week slowed the flow of sap from the Aldermere Farm maple trees, but it couldn’t keep the smile from Kazan Kibler’s face.
“It’s dripping out the hose!” exclaimed the Lincolnville 6-year-old after he helped to tap a tree at a community event at the farm, which now is run by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Kazan, who bounced around the snowy terrain like a wintertime windup toy, was pretty excited to take part in the classic Maine tradition — and that is just what his grandmother had in mind.
“I wanted to show my grandchildren this procedure,” said Diane Haines of Camden on Thursday. “My husband and I used to tap trees all the time in Rangeley. … We’re Maine people, and it’s just what we did. We want the kids to experience all this stuff, too.”
Haines watched as Kazan intently helped the Aldermere Farm staff.
“I can’t believe he’s off the couch!” she marveled. “He’s a couch potato.”
Sarah Post, the program manager at Aldermere Farm, said the “Sap to Syrup” programs have helped lots of kids learn more about what she calls the lost skills of maple syrup season. About 20 people participated in the tapping session Thursday, and about 60 came to a session held the previous weekend.
Aside from the chill, it was a perfect day to head into one of the farm’s two sugar bush areas, located across the street from the farm’s landmark Belted Galloway cows.
Post helped kids and others use a power drill and hammer to tap the trees and hook up yards of plastic tubing that drip into buckets. Along the way, she had them taste the pure maple sap and slipped them unusual maple facts. For instance, it’s possible to make syrup from red maple trees as well as sugar maple trees, she said.
“It’s really gaining in popularity,” Post said of the community programs. “We’re teaching parents as much as the kids these days.”
For more information about upcoming “Sap to Syrup” activities, call 236-2739 or visit the Web site www.aldermere.org.