Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

Maple sugaring is a New England icon. Galvanized buckets hanging from trees above snow-covered ground and rising steam from an evaporator are among the most enduring, endearing, and engaging images of the region. A substantial amount of syrup...

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Maple Passion

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pp. 1-12

“Is it real maple syrup?” That’s my first question in an unfamiliar restaurant when I order pancakes, perhaps with a side of bacon and a couple of bull’s-eye eggs. Not long ago, I perched myself on a stool in a silvery train-car-style eastern Massachusetts...

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Time, Space, and the Special Theory of Maple Relativity

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pp. 13-28

It’s roughly around the middle of January that sugarmakers, even retired ones like me, become vigilant about weather. We don’t necessarily pay attention to the forecasts of professionally cheerful meteorological evangelists with their Doppler radar...

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The Joys of Drudgery

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pp. 29-44

“It’s a madness,” Rob Lamothe says of sugaring. “It possesses you.” Laughing heartily and dressed in trademark red suspenders and baseball-style cap, he radiates woodsy, avuncular warmth. Now one of the largest producers in Connecticut with about...

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The End of Maple?

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pp. 45-62

Killers are on the loose. Invading aliens are attacking the old industrial city of Worcester, Massachusetts, and surrounding towns. Almost thirty-four thousand street and yard trees in 110 square miles, largely maples, have disappeared. An additional...

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Hot Rocks and Bubbling Cauldrons

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pp. 63-78

Dressed in buckskins sewn from the hide of a deer he killed with a flint-tipped arrow, James Dina leaned over a small fire he started with friction sticks. Flames were licking at several rocks about the size of large potatoes. With twin sticks formed...

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Yankee Ingenuity

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pp. 79-100

Is there any food production process simpler or more monotonous than a sugarmaker’s task of boiling? And if you think watching paint dry or grass grow might be dull, maybe you haven’t heard that a watched pot never boils. Of course, any sugarmaker...

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The Miracle of Maples

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pp. 101-118

Not since Druid days, perhaps, have trees been so revered by an organized group as maples are by sugarmakers. “Sugar maples are the most significant tree in the world for what they give to humankind,” J. Mark Harran has told me with an earnestness...

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One Taste and You’re in the Snowy Woods

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pp. 119-130

On a warm, sunny afternoon a few days past Lincoln’s birthday some years ago I was drilling a taphole in a large maple that stood at the corner of Main and Center Streets about a block from my home in Collinsville. Corkscrews of fresh, light heartwood rode...

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The Sweet Experience of Agritainment and Marketing

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pp. 131-152

State capital that it is, Montpelier is nevertheless a small town. It doesn’t take long to go from Henry Marckres’s office to the rural outskirts and pull into the busy dirt parking lot of Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, a cluster of dark-brown...

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Family, Community, Tradition

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pp. 153-172

About sixty people, mostly children with their elders, gathered around Roaring Brook Nature Center’s Jay Kaplan as he drilled a taphole in a large roadside maple using a battered carpenter’s brace. The mustachioed Kaplan, who has headed the Canton...

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Food for Thought

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pp. 173-188

Though I’ve never tried a case, I’m a lawyer by trade. Like many in the profession, I’ve experienced at least fleeting moments when I’ve desired to be a judge, the seeming apex of the legal world. With a career path that rarely took me into a courtroom...

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Hold Tight and Pray: Character and Place

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pp. 189-198

It’s a commonplace that the future of any organization or activity is in its young people. No pursuit can survive unless the next generation takes up the cause or business. But I’m not so sure this is true of sugaring. In the maple world, it may be that...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 199-202

About the Author

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