Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back:
A Native American Year of Moons
“In many Native American cultures each of the thirteen moons of the year is said to hold its own story, and each is powered by the turtle who is believed to contain the mystery of the moon in the shell of its back.”
Legend has it that North America is the back of a turtle and it’s eye is here in New England. If you take a close look at the shell of a turtle you can count out thirteen different plates on its carapace. And every year has thirteen moon cycles that complete the year.
According to Anishinabe legend, this month’s full moon, the 3rd moon, is called the Maple Sugar Moon, the only time of the year sap flows from the maple trees. In the hilltowns of Western Mass it’s the month steam pours out of our area sugar shacks and fresh maple sap is boiled down to make maple syrup. Many sugar shacks invite families to their annual pancake breakfasts during these weeks to enjoy fresh maple syrup and share in the process of making syrup.
There will be a maple sugaring showcase presented by Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, MA this weekend. Click here for details.
There are many area sugar shacks to bring your family to during the Maple Sap Moon that serve breakfast with the fresh maple syrup Be sure to call ahead for schedules.
South Face Farm Sugarhouse (413) 628-3268
Williams Farm Sugarhouse (413) 773-5186
Davenport Maple Farm (413) 625-2866
Gould’s Sugarhouse (413) 625-6170
Pomeroy’s Sugarhouse (413) 568-3484
Hanging Mountain Farm (413) 527-3210
Steve’s Sugar Shack (413) 527-0294
High Hopes Sugarhouse (413) 238-5919
The Red Bucket Sugar Shack (413) 238-7710
- MORE INFORMATION
Additional information about sugaring and the sugaring season is available from the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association in Ashfield, MA. Call (413) 628-3912.
Other moon legends Bruchac and London share in Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back, many of which you can see evidence of in New England during it’s cycle, include:
- Frog Moon (Cree Legend)
- Budding Moon (Huron Legend)
- Strawberry Moon (Seneca Legend)
- Acorn Moon (Pomo Legend)
- Wild Rice Moon (Menominee Legend)
- Moose Moon (Micmac Legend)
- Falling Leaves Moon (Cherokee Legend)
- Deer Horn Drop Moon (Winnebago Legend)
- Wolf Moon (Lakota Sioux Legend)
- Big Moon (Abenaki Legend)
- Popping Tree Moon (Northern Cheyenne Legend)
- Baby Bear Moon (Potawatomi Legend)
PLACES TO PERUSE
Related websites of interest:
- How do they make maple syrup?
From “How Stuff Works”
- Homemade Maple Syrup
Directions on how to tap and make maple syrup with your own trees.
- The Story of Maple Syrup
Maple Grove Farms of Vermont tells the story of maple syrup. If you visit them the offer both a factory and maple syrup museum tour.
- First People of America and Canada
A child friendly, educational site about American and Canadian Indians with many moon lore legends.
- Cresent Moon Watch
Receive e-mail reminders of the next new moon.
- Maple Recipes
Find the recipes to make Maple Jelly, Maple Apple Pie, Maple Mustard, and much more.
- Maple Coloring Pages
Print out pages for your children to color while learning about the sugaring process.
- Make Sugar-on-snow
- How to Tap & Make Maple Syrup
A pdf flyer published by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension program.
- Maple Sugar Curriculum
Designed for a middle school project that would link science and social studies, and technology education. It can be modified for elementary use.
- Maple Trees
Learn more about the varieties of Maple Trees. Rich site of photos and resources.