Maple Sugar Days

Springtime in Ohio, which seems ever-elusive after an excessively long winter, is upon us. Its appearance is marked not by daffodil shoots or the first red-breasted robin, but by running sap in the maple trees. We took a trip to the Hale Farm and Village to learn firsthand about life on an early 1850s Ohio farm, and the time consuming annual joy of making maple syrup.

The Hale Farm is one of those cool places where people dress in period costume and act like they are from that particular era. We met a man who knew several different ways of tapping maple trees for sap:

Tapping maple trees

We also spent a few minutes inside a cabin from the early 1800s, where the kids learned how families lived at that time. They were most impressed that 12 people lived in a house smaller than our living room.

1800s cabin

The cabin was my favorite stop, actually. The two women “inhabitants” talked about how they had come from Connecticut and described, in great detail, some of the jobs that their children did on a daily basis. They did a very good job of sharing their content from a child’s perspective. It didn’t hurt that they were making apple fritters and shared some with the kids, either.

In the Hale farmhouse, finished around 1820, we met a woman who showed us how to card and spin wool. The kids thought it was amazing that, had they lived in that time, they would have been expected to card wool every day. (I don’t let them touch my knitting wool!)

Carding Wool


I don’t think they quite appreciate how much easier our lives are now, compared to two hundred years ago. Yet.

Hale Farm



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