Maple and Backyard News

January 5, 2022

A month’s worth of maple and backyard news, all packaged up for you!

Maple News 

It’s that time of the year! Our maple news bags runneth over. Let’s dive in!

You may recall that December’s maple news was dominated by Canada’s releasing a bunch of syrup from its reserves to accomodate rising demand and a lousy 2021 season. Now you can take a tour of Canada’s strategic maple reserve on YouTube.

And before we leave 2021 entirely, a big hooray for maple making the year-end news story roundups for generating the strangest stories (along with killer monkeys, insulting wizards and testical baths) and the most interesting facts (one of the New York Times’s 72 favorites, no less). Not bad!

Also not bad: maple in schools. From elementary schools to high schools to higher education, 2022 is going to be a big year for maple-in-school. And there are many more ways to learn than formal education. Scheduled so far: demos in New Jersey, and workshops in Maine and Pennsylvania.

Indeed, maple news is coming in from all over sugar country. Small-scale production is on the rise in Vermont, commercial production is set to grow in Wisconsin, and there will be maple syrup made in Philadelphia again this year.  Three cheers for the Illadelph! New Brunswick has passed New York to become the third largest maple producing region in the world (behind Quebec and Vermont), and climate change requires adaptation in Minnesota and Montana.

In celebrity-adjacent maple “news,” one of the producers of ‘Friends,’ who is a maple syrup maker, is diversifying with cannabis. And if you didn’t know that IHOP pancakes come with real maple syrup in Vermont (and Vermont only), well . . . you do now.

Much of the maple news is quite uplifting. What a treat! There’s a new children’s picture book about maple syrup making on the market that looks heartwarming. A couple in Massachusetts is selling homemade maple syrup and donating all proceeds to relief efforts in Syria. Demand for maple syrup is exploding in China, which is, like, a very big place with a lot of people (we hear). And New York now boasts the first electric carbon neutral maple syrup operation. Woot!

Finally, if you’ve ever wondered what the heck is up with that teeny handle on many maple syrup bottles, you’re on to something. It’s an example of a skeuomorph, a “leftover design feature[], kept in or on an object even when [it is] no longer necessary to its function, as a reminder of its history.” Now that’s worth knowing about.

Backyard News

It’s a mishmash of cold-weather actual and warm-weather fantastical out there in backyard news. On the one hand, you’ve got your backyard hockey rinks, your backyard igloos, the health benefits of winter hottubbing, and the backyard critter habitat created by the Christmas tree you just planted in your snowbank. On the other hand, we’re all planning our gardens, our backyard orchards, and our backyard pergolas. As well as thinking about warm weather backyard sports like professional cornhole and it’s second-cousin “Chippo.” Or not!

Backyard astronomers are looking back at a big year in space, and pointing their new telescopes forward into 2022.

And that’s a wrap! As always, there’s more maple and backyard news around every corner, around here!