March 31, 2019 - The only thing sweeter than Maple Syrup? The good news that Everette is going to get baptized!!!!

Look at those smiles!!! Everette is getting baptized Saturday, April 13, 2019. Sisters Weaver and Black, Karen, Everette, Mark and John. John is a member of the Massena Branch that has unselfishly given Everette a ride to church and Singles FHE every week.
Sister Weaver got a surprise from Everette - one of his unique paper-folding plaques. That's when you know you have truly been welcomed to the Branch. We're already loving Sister Weaver and we are so excited to have her in the Branch.
The Eisenhower Lock - not far from the Nature Center where we volunteer and the Massena Mall.
One of the first ships of the season - we can walk across the street from our apartment and watch the ships pass by.
There are Canadian geese all over the golf course - better watch where you step on this golf course!
Our Singles Family Home Evening - we had a dozen people this week and we studied the lesson in Come Follow Me - AND everyone of the twelve brought their manual. We have a great time studying and then there are treats of course!!! Sister Hann is a good sport, we ran out of forks, so she had to use a very large serving fork to eat her goodies. So, of course I had to get a picture of her pigging out with the GIANT fork!
Our Branch will be holding Young Women's New Beginnings next week and so Karen made a banner that is hanging in our apartment.
Morgan, one of the Young Women in our Branch was in the play, Sound of Music, so we went to watch.
The cast did a great job and Morgan was the best nun on the stage.
It was Maple Week and we got invited to the Massena Rotary Club Pancake feed - all you can eat and plenty of 100% pure Maple syrup - Yum!!! Thank you, Bro & Sis Hann.
Every time the Massena Rotary Club visits another Club or another Club visits Massena, they exchange small scale size of their banners - the whole back wall was covered with these small banners.
There was a BIG crowd on hand for the 59th Annual Pancake Feed. The Rotary Club uses the proceeds to fund several of the local charities that they support.
The maple syrup is delivered in 55 gallon drums - and they go through a lot of it! Pictured: Mark, Sis and Bro Hann, Karen, Sis and Bro Whetstone - Senior Missionary couple from nearby Ogdensburg that came at our invitation.
In order for the Maple sap to flow, so it can be harvested, the temperature needs to drop below freezing at night and then rise above freezing during the day. The season starts when the day time temperature is above zero. And then the season ends when the temperature at night stops falling below zero.
The trees are tapped - you can have more than one tap in a tree - and then when the sap runs during the day, the smaller Sugar Bushes collect the sap in a bucket or some of them now use a heavy plastic bag. The sap in the bucket is hauled to a storage container where it will later be boiled in an evaporator. 
Many sugarmakers who have a large number of trees tapped will run a blue line that is hooked to a vacuum pump that gathers the sap to a storage container.
The blue lines coming together at a storage container.
The sap contains 90%+ water and some sugarmakers run the sap through a Reverse Osmosis that takes away some of the excess water which allows for an expedited boiling process.
A large Evaporator at the Cornell Cooperative Extension that also works with 4-H and Future Farmers of America, operates a Maple Farm to teach and educate.
Their Evaporator is heated by wood because they have a lot of old growth maple trees (450 years old) that have been lost and they want to use wood rather than let it go to waste. They constantly have to add wood to keep the fire burning hot enough. Other producers use fuel oil.
They boil the sap at about 8 degrees above boiling point. This can be adjusted to account for weather changes such as barometric pressure. They have electronic temperature sensors, but they still keep this old school temperature gauge in the boiling sap as a back up no-fail accurate temperature read.
The boiling sap. On average it takes about 40 gallons to make 1 gallon of Maple Syrup. This ratio can be higher or lower depending on tree and weather conditions.
When the right conditions are met including the proper temperature, Maple Syrup pours out into the bucket.
The Maple Syrup goes through the Finishing Pan after the boiling is completed.
Finally, the Maple Syrup is filtered to remove any final impurities - their can be multiple filters added to this process according to need.
The guy was a good "teacher" and kept our attention. Sis & Bro Whetstone, Bro & Sis Hann & Karen
The finished product.
Chart for Grading Maple Syrup
Of course they offer you small samples of Maple Syrup - it was definitely very tasty.
You used to buy Maple Syrup in metal cans welded with lead! Obviously, they don't do that any more.
This machine makes Maple Cream - there is quite an art to it. They tell me that it tastes very good on toast!
I guess the sales pitch worked - we bought a gallon of pure Maple Syrup. Stop by and have some pancakes if you are in the neighborhood!

It's fun to learn about the local traditions and then sample them. (Eat pancakes with Maple Syrup on them!) It's so exciting to have a baptism - everyone in the branch has rallied around Everette and he will be a great blessing to the branch.