Nature’s sweet maple treat
Bobbie A. Harjo
“Hurry up!” called John as Maggie grabbed the bucket in her trembling hands. She sprinted up the hill yelling, “I’m coming, I’m coming!” As she ran as fast as she could, she grew more and more worried. It was the last day of the sugaring season, and there were twenty more trees to harvest. Would we make it, she thought?
When Pioneers like Maggie arrived to America, they learned how to make syrup. Maple syrup was first discovered by the Native Americans of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. By watching the Native Americans, Pioneers like John and Maggie learned how to make syrup and later they improved the process and speed of making Maple syrup.
Maple syrup is made by gathering sap from the maple trees. Maples are harvested in early spring, before the leaves bud, when the sap moves food up and down the tree. Sugar makers grow a group of maple trees, called a maple orchard. There needs to be enough syrup to last the rest of the year, there for twenty-five to 1,000 or more trees are grown.
Although, there are many maples only four are harvested. Theses trees are the sugar maple, black maple, red maple, and the silver maple. The sugar maple is the most famous because of it sweet sap. Oaks, butternuts, and other trees were once harvested, but now only maples are harvested.
Tree must grow a few years before they can be harvested. It must be forty to eighty years old in order to be harvested. Few live to be 400 years old and harvested for 320 – 360 years. Some grow as tall as a six-story building.
Caring for a maple forest is a year-round job. Sugar makers must cut down trees that prevent maples from getting sunlight; they also must cut down dead maples. Sugar makers must destroy pests and keep away animals that will eat baby maples. If the trees are not cared for they will die and have to be cut down.
Sugar makers drill holes into the tree, and insert a tap. Then they hang a bucket from...
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