Homemade Maple Syrup on Muddy Creek
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Hot, just homemade, buttered flapjacks, drowned in fresh maple syrup, will "put hair on yer chest," believe you me. I can well understand how come Little Black Sambo could eat 24 pancakes.
Memories of that homemade maple syrup, and the desire to "do it myself," compelled me to tap a big maple tree down at the farm a couple of years ago, and do some "sugarin'" on my own. I drilled a hole in the tree trunk and inserted the barrel of a ball-point pen, for want of a better spout, and collected several gallons of water. I found out the hard way that to get the best flow of sap, the nights must be cold and days sunny to make that old maple tree believe spring is near and start that sap a'flowin'.
After I had collected the sap and, with much reluctant cooperation from my bride of 40 years (who surely thought I had gone off my rocker), we boiled that water down in the kitchen. The exhaust fan carried out most of the vapor, but for weeks that sweet aroma hung in the air, on the curtains and even on the upholstery. After all of that boiling, we ended up with less than a quart of mighty expensive syrup, what with all the steamed-up wallpaper and mess. But that flavor was worth the effort, and we carefully and stingily doled out the supply, stretching it out as long as possible.
After that experience, I now gladly pay the asking price to those who make the effort to produce that delicious spring elixir. FC
Perry E. Piper's recollections of his childhood on Muddy Creek – "which lies astraddle of the Indian Boundary Line that old Chief Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison laid out back in 1803" – have appeared in newspapers in Illinois and Indiana for the past 12 years.
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