Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April Potluck: Woodcock Walk

Woodcock Walk
Saturday, April 14th, 7pm 

Come out to our monthly potluck program for an evening of good food, fun company, and interesting presentations. The potluck starts at 7 pm. Bring a dish to pass if you can; but it's not required, so don't feel obligated! Wagbo provides drinks and table service.

The program begins at 8 pm with an evening viewing the spectacularly dramatic courtship display of the woodcock. Find out why they are nicknamed “the Little Brown Ghost” as we sneak through forest and field to experience our local harbingers of spring. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to encounter the wild animals that live in the Jordan River Valley. Great for individuals, couples, and families! Free and open to the public.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Maple Sugaring Open House

Maple Sugaring Open House
Saturday, March 31st, 10am to 3pm
Donations Suggested

Come out to the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center for a fascinating glimpse into our maple sugaring operation! Browse our maple-themed bake sale, take a naturalist-led hike out to the sugar bush, and receive a tour of our sugar shack. Bring your kids out to meet our friendly farm animals and enjoy syrup-inspired games. We will be serving samples of maple syrup over ice cream. There will be a drawing for three syrup-themed door prizes. Local musicians Dwain Martin, Gordon Howie, and Robin Luce will play music from 11am to 2pm. Hope to see you there!

Sugaring Season Begins at Wagbo

East Jordan—Rising temperatures and melting snow signal the beginning of the maple sugaring season in Northern Michigan. The Friends of the Wagbo Sugarbush (FWSB), an all-volunteer group organized by the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center, have been preparing all winter for this moment.

The recent warming trend means that sap will soon gush from the trees, and FWSB volunteers will spend long hours boiling it down into maple syrup. Approximately 600 taps were placed this year, and with an average annual yield of one quart of syrup per tap, the FWSB hopes to produce around 150 gallons of syrup. However, in order to produce one gallon of syrup about 40 gallons of water must be boiled off. Which means there’s a lot of work to be done in the “sugar shack”- the small building that houses the evaporator in which syrup is produced.

Further complicating matters is the fact that mild winters often result in a lower sugar content in the sap, which means more boiling and more work to produce the same amount of syrup. In addition, the rapidly rising temperatures may cause the trees to bud, effectively ending the sap run and sugaring season.

However, the FWSB crew remains optimistic that they will have a good time despite weather-related challenges. “We have a new evaporator this year. It’s smaller and more efficient. There’s more work space, more room for tours- it’s much more user-friendly.” said Carl Eklund.

“It’s very enjoyable being here. Hard work- but very enjoyable. The camaraderie is second to none. The guys and gals involved in this operation are great.” said Paul Michael. Other volunteers echo the same sentiment, saying it’s not just about the syrup produced, but about the camaraderie and friendship. Still, syrup production is the ultimate goal, and FWSB volunteers enjoy the fact that their hard work earns them a share of maple syrup.

“Some people devote long hours to the operation and go home with way more syrup than they can use in a year! Other people just stop by to watch how it all works.” Maria Wesserle, Wagbo Program Coordinator said.  “This is a great place for the community to learn about the sugaring process. The sugar shack is usually open for tours, and at the end of March we’re holding an open house.”

The open house will take place on Saturday, March 31st from 10am to 3pm and will feature live music, sugar shack tours and syrup tastings, a maple syrup-themed bake sale, and a drawing for maple syrup gift baskets.

If you are interested in working with the Friends of the Wagbo Sugarbush or would like more information on the open house, please call Wagbo at 231-536-0333 or email