Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sweet Sweet Sunshine

The weather is spectacular in Manitoba these's been a wonderful, and early, spring.  Today it is 20 Celsius and the sunshine is brilliant.  I know because we spent a few hours of it outside - no jackets, short sleeved shirts.  We went on a field trip today, about a half hour outside of Winnipeg, to a small maple syrup farm in the town of St. Pierre Jolys.  There were eighteen or twenty homeschooled kids K-2 in attendance and they (and we parents) learned about how maple syrup is taken as water from the maple trees, and boiled down to create the syrup.  The man who did the presentation also treated us to a varied selection of music, playing instruments that would have been played by the voyageurs long ago: harmonicas (including one that was about an inch long!); mandolin; jaw harp (I'd never heard these played before); spoons; tin whistle 'flute'; etc etc. He was great.

Then we got to sample a bit of the syrup, formed as cooled taffy on some ice and rolled up onto a popsicle stick.

Then we heard/saw how the maple tree 'water' gets boiled down into what will become pure maple syrup. Who knew that it takes forty of these buckets full of tree 'water' to create one bucket of the wonder it's so expensive to buy!

Oh, and I'd better not forget the horse and wagon ride that was one of Matthew's favourite parts of the day - we toured the tiny town as well as the maple syrup farm property:

The best part of our day, though, had to be the time after all of the formal activities had ended and we just sat, and then played, in the big field behind the barns.  Matthew found some other kids to play with and had a blast:

While he played, I talked to another homeschool mom (who had four of her six children with her) and learned that one of her children had been adopted from Haiti almost three years ago (of all things, through Imagine's predecessor, St. Anne's Adoption).  We had lots of things to talk about.  It's not very often that one meets a stranger and discovers the immediate, shared language related to international adoption: it's great to talk face-to-face with someone who understands the lingo, the complexities, the joys and sorrows of international adoption.  Though she and I appear to be very different in personality, I very much enjoyed our conversation and we agreed to stay in contact.  She even invited us up to their farm some time, about two hours north of Winnipeg, where she and the six kids have horses, llamas, sheep, rabbits, dogs and cats...some kind of kid heaven, I'm thinking.

All in all, it was a good day.  And the warm sunshine beating down on my face certainly didn't hurt the situation.

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