In case you think that the most wonderful time of the year is Christmas... you are so very wrong.
The most wonderful time of the year is sugaring-off time!...the yearly (or more often) visit to the sugar bush. In Ottawa, it is a VERY popular thing to do from early March to end of April. There are A LOT of sugar bushes around the area on both the Ontario and, of course, the Quebec sides of the river.
This morning we had our first visit to the sugar bush for 2007. We went to Fulton's. For John and I, it isn't our favourite bush - that would be Sand Road Sugar Camp - the food is superior at Sand Road. However, for kids, Fulton's is head and shoulders above the rest. The food is good (just not all-you-can-eat and where the heck are les oreilles de Christ?) but it is all the activities that make it great for the kids - an outdoor play area, a fire pit with marshmallows, horse-drawn sleigh rides, face painting, etc. And, since we went so early in the season (the sap isn't even running yet actually due to the cold weather), it wasn't very busy which was great for the kiddies.
We went with our good friends, Pam and Jim and their two young 'uns, Nevan (same age as Emily) and Celia (same age as Hope). We had a great time... but for Nevan and Emily it was bliss. Those two are great friends and play really well together.
It was one of those perfect winter days, too - a bit sunny, not too cold, but lots of snow, no wind. Just perfect, peaceful, quiet out there mixed with the smell of wood smoke, horses and maple syrup.... can't get much more perfect than that.
If you were wondering what Hope was doing during all this fun... it involved looking like Baby Genius while coating the backpack in frozen drool.