After supper, their father took them on his knees as he sat before the fire. He told them about his day at grandfather's house and the sugar snow.
"All winter," their father said, "your grandfather has been making wooden buckets. He also made little troughs, which are like pipes. He made them of cedar and white ash, because wood from those trees won't give a bad taste to the maple syrup.
To make the troughs, he split out little sticks as long as my hand and as big as my two fingers. Near one end, Grandfather cut the stick half through and cut one half off. This left him a flat stick, with a square piece at one end. Then he made a hole lengthwise through the square part and with his knife he cut the wood until it was only a thin shell around the round hole. The flat part of the stick he cut out with his knife until it was a little trough.
He made dozens of them and he made ten new wooden buckets. He had them all ready when the first warm weather came and the sap began to move in the trees. Sap is the blood of a tree.
Then he went into the part of the forest with many maple trees and he made a hole in each maple tree. Then he hammered the round end of the little trough into the hole and he set a bucket made of wood from a cedar tree on the ground under the flat end.
The sap comes up from the roots, after winter, when warm weather begins in the spring. Sap goes to the very tip of each branch and each twig, to make the green leaves grow.
Well, when the maple sap came to the hole in the tree, it ran out of the tree, down the little trough and into the bucket."
"Oh, didn't it hurt the poor tree?" Laura asked.
"No more than it hurts you when you prick your finger and it bleeds," said her father.
Little House in the Big Woods
Chapter 1 - Part 1: Introduction
Chapter 1 - Part 2: Wolves in the Night
Chapter 1 - Part 4: Smoked Meat
Chapter 1 - Part 5: Food for Winter
Chapter 1 - Part 6: Butchering Time
Chapter 1 - Part 7: After Butchering Time
Chapter 1 - Part 9: Winter Night
Chapter 1 - Part 10: About the Author & Where to Find the Book
Chapter 2 - Part 1: Winter Days and Winter Nights
Chapter 2 - Part 2: Jack Frost
Chapter 2 - Part 3: Laura and Mary Helped Mother with the Housework
Chapter 2 - Part 4: Churn on Thursday
Chapter 2 - Part 5: The Best Time of All
Chapter 2 - Part 6: Her Father Began to Play his Fiddle and Sing
Chapter 2 - Part 7: Father Told Stories
Chapter 2 - Part 8 - The Story of Grandfather and the Panther
Chapter 3 - Part 1: Introduction (The Long Rifle)
Chapter 3 - Part 2: Making Bullets
Chapter 3 - Part 3: Cleaning the Gun
Chapter 3 - Part 4: Loading the Gun
Chapter 3 - Part 5: Where and Why to Keep a Gun
Chapter 3 - Part 6: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 1
Chapter 3 - Part 7: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 2
Chapter 4 - Part 1: Christmas in the Forest
Chapter 4 - Part 2: Making a Gift for his Wife
Chapter 4 - Part 3: Christmas is Coming
Chapter 4 - Part 4: Children Make Pictures in the Snow
Chapter 4 - Part 5: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 1 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 6: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 2 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 7: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 3 of 3)
Chapter 4 - Part 8: Christmas Morning
Chapter 4 - Part 9: Santa Claus Only Gives Presents to Children
Chapter 5 - Part 2: The Weekly Bath
Chapter 5 - Part 3: Being Quiet
Chapter 5 - Part 4: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 1 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 5: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 2 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 6: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 3 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 7: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 4 of 4)
Chapter 5 - Part 8: Sunday Music
Chapter 5 - Part 9: Birthday Spanking
Chapter 6 - Part 1 - Introduction (Two Big Bears)
Chapter 6 - Part 2 - Getting Ready to Go
Chapter 6 - Part 3 - Milking Sukey the Cow (1 of 2)
Chapter 6 - Part 4a - Milking Sukey the Cow (2 of 2)
Chapter 6 - Part 4b - Review Questions: Milking Sukey
Chapter 6 - Part 4c - Answers for Review Questions
Chapter 6 - Part 5 - Her Father Has Not Come Home
Chapter 6 - Part 6 - The Story Of Her Father And The Bear In The Way (1 of 2)
Chapter 6 Part 7a - The Story of Her Father and the Bear in the Way (2 of 2)
Chapter 6 Part 7b - Review Questions: The Bear in the Way
Chapter 6 Part 7c - Answers for Review Questions
Chapter 6 Part 8 - Evening with Father
Chapter 6 Part 9 - When idiots see a bear: Hey let's feed the real live teddy bear!
Chapter 7 Part 1 Introduction - Maple Syrup
Chapter 7 Part 2 - The snow is melting
by John Larrysson
A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.
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