National Geographic : 1967 Aug
B. ANTHONYSTEWART(OPPOSITELOWER)AND EMORYKRISTOF me. "We can use an extra hand." Now she made her rebuttal to my remark about the cost of syrup, but in work, not words. From then until midnight, when the last 40 gallons of sap had simmered down to a single gallon of syrup, I chopped wood, fed fires, skimmed the thickening fluid, and scalded myself sev eral times in the process. I no longer complain about the price of pure maple syrup. Pioneer French Left Their Mark Throughout Champlain country rural mail boxes carry such names as Abair, LaRocque, Bourdeau, and DeForge. Many a family proudly claims French-Canadian ancestry. Among the earliest French arrivals were priests who came to convert the Indians. Mis sionaries and military men founded the val ley's first white settlement at Isle La Motte in 1666, then abandoned it a few years later. A lovely little shrine to St. Anne, built on the It's sugaring time! For two to six weeks during late winter and early spring, farmers in Champlain country tap the sugar maple, state tree of Vermont and New York. Each trunk averages 15 gallons of sap, a yield that boils down to less than half a gallon of syrup. His horses hitched to a sled, a Ver monter makes the rounds of maples inter spersed with beeches to set out sap buckets. Tappers drill a hole in the trunk, insert a spout, hang a bucket, and cover both bucket and spout with a lid to keep out dirt and rain. One tap suffices for younger trees like the one behind the dog; giants in the thick grove in right background may take two or more. A combination of warm days and freezing nights produces the best run. Frozen icicle of sap at upper left awaits the warmth of day. In the sugarhouse, the sap bubbles in an evaporating pan above a roaring fire. Excess water passes off as steam and escapes through a vent in the roof. The end product: pure, sweet maple syrup. N.G.S.