an nounce’, give first notice of; make known.
de li’cious, affording great pleasure, especially to the taste.
de’tails, small parts of any thing.
clar’i fied, made clear or pure.
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There is no part of farming that a boy enjoys more than the making of maple sugar; it is better than “blackberrying,” and nearly as good as fishing.
And one reason he likes this work is that somebody else does the most of it. It is a sort of work in which he can appear to be very active, and yet not do much.
In my day maple-sugar-making used to be something between picnicking and being shipwrecked on a fertile island, where one should save from the wreck, tubs and augers, and great kettles and pork, and hen’s-eggs and rye-and-indian bread, and begin at once to lead the sweetest life in the world.
I am told that it is something different nowadays, and that there is more desire to save the sap, and make good, pure sugar, and sell it for a large price.
I am told that it is the custom to carefully collect the sap and bring it to the house, where there are built brick arches, over which it is evaporated in shallow pans, and that pains are taken to keep the leaves, sticks, ashes and coals out of it, and that the sugar is clarified.
In short, that it is a money-making business, in which there is very little fun, and that the boy is not allowed to dip his paddle into the kettle of boiling sugar and lick off the delicious syrup.
As I remember, the country boy used to be on the lookout in the spring for the sap to begin running. I think he discovered it as soon as anybody.
Perhaps he knew it by a feeling of something starting in his own veins—a sort of spring stir in his legs and arms, which tempted him to stand on his head, or throw a handspring, if he could find a spot of ground from which the snow had melted.
The sap stirs early in the legs of a country boy, and shows itself in uneasiness in the toes, which, get tired of boots, and want to come out and touch the soil just as soon as the sun has warmed it a little.
The country boy goes barefoot just as naturally as the trees burst their buds, which were packed and varnished over in the fall to keep the water and the frost out.
Perhaps the boy has been out digging into the maple-trees with his jack-knife; at any rate, he is pretty sure to announce the discovery as he comes running into the house in a state of great excitement, with “Sap’s runnin’!”
And then, indeed, the stir and excitement begin. The sap-buckets, which have been stored in the wood-house, are brought down and set out on the south side of the house and scalded.