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Posts by harp
Since moving east to the province of Quebec a couple of years ago, I’ve learned a lot more about maple syrup and tasted some amazing samples. I’m not an expert on how maple syrup is made, so I won’t explain it in too much detail, but basically it requires a lot of boiling and heating to remove the water from the sap, until it becomes maple syrup. I’ve tasted the sap that comes directly from the tree and it tastes like water with just a bit of sweetness.
Although sugar shack is the English name for the place where sap is collected and made into maple syrup, most people in Quebec, whether they’re speaking French or English, refer to these places by the French name: cabane à sucre. Many of my Quebecois friends have told me stories of their memories of going to a sugar shack in the spring with all of their family and eating a lot of traditional food, almost all of it with a bit of maple syrup. It’s traditional to visit sugar shacks in the early spring because this is when the sap is flowing and can most easily be made into maple syrup.
This year, I visited a sugar shack for the very first time! I was really lucky because I went to a very traditional sugar shack with a Quebecois friend. It’s the same place his family has been going to for the last 35 years! It was a wonderful experience, as I got to eat a lot of delicious food and also practice my French (most of my friend’s family only speaks French).
I’ve included some pictures here of the visit, taken by my friend Adrian. As you can see, he’s a wonderful photographer. Adrian and his wife are both originally from Romania (they moved to Canada last year) and not only was this their first visit to a sugar shack, but their first time ever trying maple syrup! They loved it.
Culips ESL Podcast
2010 was a busy year at Culips. We’ve been working hard at making the best ESL podcasts to help you, our listeners, learn English—improving your English listening comprehension and giving you tons of idioms to help you sound more natural when you speak English.
After all this hard work throughout the year, we decided that it was time to relax and enjoy a fun team activity, so we decided to go bowling!
Bowling is a simple game, you just have to roll a big heavy ball down the long bowling lane and knock over as many club-shaped wooden bowling pins as you can. If you can roll the ball down the very centre of the lane and knock over all ten of the pins on your first try, you get a strike! Unlike in baseball, where a strike is a bad thing, a strike is worth lots of points in bowling. But if the ball rolls out of the lane into one of the grooves on the side (the gutter) and you don’t hit any of the pins, it’s called a gutter ball, and you don’t get any points.
During our holiday party, we bowled a few strikes and some gutter balls too! It was a great night and I think it’s safe to say that we all had a blast relaxing, hanging out, and teasing each other about our bowling skills. We even took some silly pictures of us enjoying the game.
Now that the new year has begun, we’re all looking forward to putting out some amazing Culips ESL podcasts in 2011. And we’d love to hear your suggestions! Send us an email or leave a comment on the website if you have an idea for a topic that you’d like us to discuss in one of our future episodes.
Take care everyone,
Culips ESL Podcast
Do you remember the time before portable music? Only being able to listen to music while inside?
Well, I still remember my first portable cassette tape player; it was a hand-me-down from my older sister. It was amazing to me to be able to listen to the radio and music while walking around outside. Then I remember getting a portable CD player. I felt so fancy and modern.
The last time I went to visit my parents, I saw my old CD player and it looked so big and bulky. After this, I moved on to (much smaller) MP3 players, and now I listen to music and podcasts on my cell phone; everything in one small device!
It still amazes me that now, with such small devices, we can listen to music and podcasts wherever we want. At the last Culips meeting, we were discussing an email from a listener. She mentioned that she listens to our free Culips ESL podcasts while she’s out walking her dog. We got an email from another listener who listens on the train to work.
Where do you listen to Culips? We’re going to make a short video using photographs of Culips listeners listening to Culips all over the world in all kinds of places. If you’d like your photo to be a part of the video, send us a picture of yourself listening to Culips anywhere, whether it’s the place you normally listen, or the craziest place you can think of!
Here’s a picture of me listening to Culips last weekend while enjoying the warmth of the fire at my friend’s cabin. We’ll be adding more pictures to our Facebook page soon!
In early September I made a trip out west to visit my best friend, Deneille. I met Deneille when we were both teaching English in South Korea.
Deneille had a very different childhood than I did, because she grew up on a farm in southern Saskatchewan. I’ve wanted to visit her family’s farm ever since we first become friends, and especially after years of hearing all the stories about the place! And this year I was finally able to make the trip.
It was an amazing visit. I’ve added some pictures here so you can see how beautiful it was. September is harvest time for the farmers in Canada, so Deneille’s brothers and father were busy in the field.
I got to ride the tractor and the grain truck. It was such a fun trip, I can’t wait to go back and visit again. Maybe next time I’ll go for the seeding season, in the springtime.
Remember when I told you about looking forward to my exciting weekend in Ottawa? Well, I wanted to share a couple of the highlights, because the weekend did not disappoint!The concert was amazing. The opening band, called An Horse, did a great job. They had lots of energy and they sounded great! I met them before the concert and got a picture taken with them, which I have added here. By the way, that band name, “An Horse” is a little strange. Usually in English we use “a” before words that start with a consonant sound (like horse), not “an.” But the band is very unique, and so is their name!
Dan Mangan … what can I say that I haven’t already said? Basically he was FANTASTIC. It was great seeing him live again and I look forward to seeing him next time he is in the Montreal area. One of the big differences between this show and the last show that I saw of his in October was the crazy awesome energy of the crowd. For so many of the songs the whole crowd was singing with him. All his fans loved him and they showed him that by singing along loudly.I spoke with Dan after the concert and asked him how it felt to have hundreds of people singing his songs with him. He said that it was an amazing feeling; he never imagined when he was writing the songs in his bedroom that this is where he would end up. Here is a picture we took together before the show.
To top off an already amazing weekend, because of the warm weather, the tulips (a kind of flower) in Ottawa were in full bloom. The Tulip Festival in Ottawa is very famous. This was the first time I was able to see the tulips there and they were beautiful. Here is the link to the festival website. I took some pictures on the Canadian Parliament grounds to show you all. Next year if you are going to be in the area of Ottawa, go see the tulips. They were beautiful!
Thanks again to An Horse and Dan for taking time to talk to me at the show!