Eric took this photo of an American Indian demonstration on how maple trees were tapped for collecting the sap to make maple syrup at the Kensington Metropark Farm Learning Center. He also has a couple photos of them boiling the say to make maple syrup.
It’s said that there was a time when the sap of the maple tree was as thick and sweet as honey. More practical tales are told of how Nanahboozhoo taught the making of maple sugar:
Then Nanahboozhoo gave the Indians a bucket made of Birch bark, and a stone tapping-gouge with which to make holes in the tree-trunks; and he shaped for them some Cedar spiles or little spouts, to put in the holes, and through which the sap might run from the trees into buckets. He told them, too, that they must build great fireplaces in the woods near the Maple groves, and when the buckets were full of sap, they must pour it into their kettles, and boil it down. And the amount of Sugar they might boil each Spring would depend on the number of Cedar spiles and Birch bark buckets they made during the Winter.
You can learn about a traditional Native American sugarbush from NativeTech and take a look inside the book Ininatig’s Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking.
Also be sure to check out The Cycle of Sweetness: From Sap to Maple Syrup on Michigan in Pictures for more photos of this fascinating process.