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."