Bio: Elmhorst Maple Picnic (Apr 26, 2014)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Anderson, Elmhorst

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co, WI) 5/14/2014

Elmhorst Maple Picnic (April 26, 2014)

Report from Elmhorst Maple Picnic April 26, 2014

By Shirley Anderson

When I stepped away from the part inside the sugar shack, I could hear the frogs croaking down by the pond, but their voices could not compete with the chatter inside the building itself. This being my second year, I was able to notice more details this time. Trilliums were just budding and the trout lily leaves were thick on the leaf-covered ground.

The Elmhorst family (and friends) Maple Syrup Picnic has been going on, in some form or fashion, for over 50 years. In recent years, a new building has housed the cooking of sap and the party afterward. The pancakes (and syrup), potato patties (and butter), French toast (and syrup), bacon (and butter) and sausage (and syrup) are all tasty and well seasoned with the fresh, cool air. Everything tastes better outdoors!

Homemade strawberry and cherry and apple sauces competed with the warm pot of maple syrup. Three cooking stations (and cooks) prepared the pancakes and other foods. Lines of people filled their plates, found seats in the sun and asked each other how they came to join the party. (Are you an Elmhorst? Do you work with one of the Elmhorst boys? Are you neighbors? Do you go to the same church?) A more diverse group of people could not be imagined, young and old.

Children wandered among the trees. Babies in arms watched the proceedings with wide eyes. Elders explained how the maple syrup was produced. For example, even with the newer collection equipment, the work still includes long cooking times and preparation and cleanup. The sap evaporation trays need to be cleaned even between batches to remove buildup of mineral deposits that can burn onto the bottom.

To attend this yearly event, some folks drove from as far as Marshfield. One of the draws was the old outhouse. Rather than rebuild, it was “grandfathered in” and maintained to avoid problematic regulations. The newer metal roof sits atop a couple of layers of asphalt shingles. The old wooden walls are spruced up with red paint on the outside and white on the inside. With a car battery hooked up, the visitor may sit and enjoy the reading material by the light of a pretty lamp. However, it’s still an outhouse and, as cold as the seat was, one came to understand what the old folks meant about the “delights” of using the facilities in all sorts of weather.



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