The Backwoods of Canada eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about The Backwoods of Canada.
its place had been, and even that disappeared after some half-hour’s time.  It was so fair and lovely a vision I was grieved when it vanished into thin air, and could have cheated fancy into the belief that it was the robe of some bright visitor from another and a better world;—­imagination apart, could it be a phosphoric exhalation from some of our many swamps or inland lakes, or was it at all connected with the aurora that is so frequently seen in our skies?

I must now close this epistle; I have many letters to prepare for friends, to whom I can only write when I have the opportunity of free conveyance, the inland postage being very high; and you must not only pay for all you receive but all you send to and from New York.

Adieu, my kindest and best of friends.

Douro, May 1st, 1833.


[The following Communications have been received from the Writer of this Work during its progress through the Press.]


THIS spring I have made maple-sugar of a much finer colour and grain than any I have yet seen; and have been assured by many old settlers it was the best, or nearly the best, they had ever met with:  which commendation induces me to give the plan I pursued in manufacturing it.  The sap having been boiled down in the sugar-bush from about sixteen pailsful to two, I first passed it through a thin flannel bag, after the manner of a jelly-bag, to strain it from the first impurities, which are great.  I then passed the liquor through another thicker flannel into the iron pot, in which I purposed boiling down the sugar, and while yet cold, or at best but lukewarm, beat up the white of one egg to a froth, and spread it gently over the surface of the liquor, watching the pot carefully after the fire began to heat it, that I might not suffer the scum to boil into the sugar.  A few minutes before it comes to a boil, the scum must be carefully removed with a skimmer, or ladle,—­the former is best.  I consider that on the care taken to remove every particle of scum depends, in a great measure, the brightness and clearness of the sugar.  The best rule I can give as to the sugaring-off, as it is termed, is to let the liquid continue at a fast boil:  only be careful to keep it from coming over by keeping a little of the liquid in your stirring-ladle, and when it boils up to the top, or you see it rising too fast, throw in a little from time to time to keep it down; or if you boil on a cooking-stove, throwing open one or all the doors will prevent boiling over.  Those that sugar-off outside the house have a wooden crane fixed against a stump, the fire being lighted against the stump, and the kettle suspended on the crane:  by this simple contrivance, (for any bush-boy can fix a crane of the kind,) the sugar need never rise over if common attention be paid to the boiling; but it does require constant watching:  one idle glance may waste much of the precious fluid.  I had only a small cooking-stove to boil my sugar on, the pots of which were thought too small, and not well shaped, so that at first my fears were that I must relinquish the trial; but I persevered, and experience convinces me a stove is an excellent furnace for the purpose; as you can regulate the heat as you like.

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The Backwoods of Canada from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.