John Messeder

Messeder

Sugaring-off when I was a kid was a sure sign of summer’s on the way. Nights below freezing and days in the low to mid 40s made the sap run in the sugar maple trees. In those days, we donned snowshoes and hiked from tree to tree, boring a half-inch hole in each trunk, hammering in the spile, then hanging a collection bucket from an attached hook.

We collected the sap into barrels on a horse-drawn sled hauled through the woods. Hiking along on snowshoes, we gathered the sap, emptying the buckets into the sled-borne barrels.

John Messeder is an award-winning conservation columnist and social anthropologist, and lives in Gettysburg, PA. He may be contacted at john@johnmesseder.com.

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