“In the morning the house was warm from the stove, but when Laura looked out of the window she saw that the ground was covered with soft, thick snow. All along the branches of the trees the snow was piled like feathers, and it lay in mounds along the top of the rail fence, and stood up in great, white balls on top of the gate-posts.
Pa came in, shaking the soft snow from his shoulders and stamping it from his boots.
“It’s a sugar snow,” he said.
Laura put her tongue quickly to a little bit of the white snow that lay in a fold of his sleeve. It was nothing but wet on her tongue, like any snow. She was glad that nobody had seen her taste it.
“Why is it a sugar snow, Pa?” she asked him, but he said he didn’t have time to explain now. He must hurry away, he was going to Grandpa’s.
After supper, Pa took them on his knees as he sat before the fire, and told them about his day at Grandpa’s, and the sugar snow. . . .
“It’s called a sugar snow, because a snow this time of year means that men can make more sugar. You see, this little cold spell and the snow will hold back the leafing of the trees, and that makes the longer run of sap. When there’s a long run of sap, it means that Grandpa can make enough maple sugar to last all the year, for common every day. When he takes his furs to town, he will not need to trade for much store sugar. He will get only a little store sugar, to have on the table when company comes.”
“Grandpa must be glad there’s a sugar snow,” Laura said.
“Yes,” Pa said, “he’s very glad. He’s going to sugar off again next Monday, and he says we must all come.”
(From “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Grandpa was glad and so are we! We woke up this morning to our very own sugar snow. We were expecting 1-2 inches, but ended up with 9 inches measured on the picnic table! Here are some pictures I took first thing this morning –
My patio garden – good thing we haven’t planted it yet! –
My giant Rosemary plant is under here somewhere –
We don’t have any maple trees, so we won’t be making sugar, but we are going to be making molasses candy with our snow today. Sarah has been wanting to do this all season, but we were always a step behind the snow or out of molasses, and it didn’t happen, but today it will!
Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and rye’n’Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and a huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.
One morning she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow.
They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest was saved for Christmas Day.”
(Also from “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Church has been cancelled this morning, and the children are slowly waking up. They will certainly be wanting to head outside soon, so I will say good-bye for now!
Be back again soon ~