St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Maple Syruping in Great Great Grandpa's time

Great Great Grandpa Lathrop Watson Beebe grew up in Western New York and lived there 1822 - 1864.  He lived in Freedom Township, Cattaraugus County.  The poem and image below come from a book written in 1894 remembering 70 years earlier when the author was a child.  The experiences must have been much the same as GG Grandpa Lote experienced.  The family made maple syrup in NY and then in Wisconsin


                   Maple Sugaring by William R Freeman

My father had reserved for the household use
A part of the grand old forest for wood:
Some trees were maple, from whose sacharine juice
We made our sugar and syrup so good.

With the first warm breath of spring on the breeze,
Before the sweet songs of the birds began.
We would go out and tap the tall maple trees.
And gather the sap in troughs as it ran.

Then on a brisk fire, in our big kettles two,
We boiled it all day, and oft' into night;
If we failed in the day all our task to do.
We finished it up by the fire's light.

And thus we made our sugar, day after day.
Freely uncontrolled by a sugar trust;
There was no one to say we must work or play—
We only stopped work when God said we must.

And then at the end of the frosts and the snow.
The season for making our sugar o'er.
We would take our sweet treasure and homeward go.
And add more comfort to the household store.

From the book Reminiscences of Farm Life in Western New York Seventy Years ago by W. R. Freeman.