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The Sugar Maker of VT Grand View Farm

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Tonight, the smoke rises from the chimney pipe, and steam billows out the windows of our little sugar house, as the Sugar Maker boils down the remainder of the sap. With 16 gallons lining the closet shelves, we will have plenty of syrup for the year, with some extra to sell or barter with. The buckets have been taken off the trees and are waiting for a warm sunny day to be scrubbed, dried, and stacked. The wood pile has dwindled down to just a small heap. All this, signifying the end of another year of taking the clear sap of the maple tree and boiling it down to golden sweet syrup.

Buckets hang on maple trees

I dedicate this poem, by Robert Frost, and photo essay, to the Sugar Maker and the many hours he sits, tending the fire below the evaporator pan.

Evening In A Sugar Orchard

From where I lingered in a lull in march
outside the sugar-house one night for choice,
I called the fireman with a careful voice
And bade him leave the pan and stoke the arch:
‘O fireman, give the fire another stoke,
And send more sparks up chimney with the smoke.’
I thought a few might tangle, as they did,
Among bare maple boughs, and in the rare
Hill atmosphere not cease to glow,
And so be added to the moon up there.
The moon, though slight, was moon enough to show
On every tree a bucket with a lid,
And on black ground a bear-skin rug of snow.
The sparks made no attempt to be the moon.
They were content to figure in the trees
As Leo, Orion, and the Pleiades.
And that was what the boughs were full of soon.

Sugar Maker Tends His Fire

Sap Boils in the Evaporator Pan

Testing with a Hydrometer
The Sugar Maker Draws Off the Syrup
Filtering the Syrup Before Bottling
Golden Maple Syrup
100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup


2 Responses

  1. Tombstone Livestock

    That’s a lot of work to dress up a stack of pancakes. Looks delicious. Matter of fact it looks just like the bottle I have in my kitchen except mine has a black cap and is only half full now.

    Enjoy it down to the last drop.

  2. Undomiel

    Sounds like we had a pretty good sugarin’ year. =) I so wish I could have been home to help out! I miss the evenings gathering sap with Daddy and riding in the back of the pickup under the stars, and the late nights telling stories in the sugar house.