After supper, their father took Laura and her sister Mary on his knees as he sat before the fire. He told them about harvesting maple syrup at grandfather's house.
"Every day grandfather puts on his boots, his warm coat, his fur hat and he goes out into the snowy forest. Then he gets the sap of the maple trees. With a big bucket called a barrel on a sleigh, he drives from tree to tree and empties the sap from the small buckets into the barrel. Then he hauls it to a big iron pot, which hangs by a chain from a big strong piece of wood between two trees.
He empties the sap into the iron pot. There is a very big fire under the pot and the sap boils. Grandfather watches it carefully. The fire must be hot enough to keep the sap boiling, but not hot enough to make it boil over the edge of the pot.
Every few minutes the sap must be skimmed. Skimming is when Grandfather takes a big, long handled, wooden spoon and removes dirt floating on the top of the sap. That big, long handled, wooden spoon he made of wood from a basswood tree. When the sap gets too hot, Grandfather lifts big spoonfuls of sap high in the air and pours it back slowly. This cools the sap a little and keeps it from boiling too fast.
When the sap has boiled down is becomes thicker and is maple syrup. When the boiled sap is ready, he fills the buckets with the maple syrup. After that, he boils the sap until small solid rice-sized pieces of maple sugar form, which he cools in a small bowl.
When the boiled sap is ready, Grandfather jumps next to the fire and with a rake pulls the fire all out from beneath the pot. Then as fast as he can, he spoons the thick maple syrup into some pans that he has waiting. In the pans the maple syrup turns into cakes of hard, brown, maple sugar."
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
Chapter 7 Part 4 - Grandfather prepares to make maple syrup
by John Larrysson
A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.
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