Erv Cross: Making sugar Indian Way at Lac Courte Oreilles

by Nick Vander Puy
Reserve, Wisconsin (LCOTV)

Erv Cross drills the maple tree with an old fashioned brace and places a handcarved cedar spigot in the hole.  Right away the sap drips into the can.

For the past several weeks Erv Cross has been supervising maple syrup making at the Lac Courte Oreilles school forest in northwestern Wisconsin. With help from the youth Cross built a wigwam and  hung more than one-hundred fifty three pound cans from the maple trees.

Inside the wigwam a large flat pan with a fire underneath evaporates the maple sap. Right now there's more than a hundred -twenty gallons steaming away. The ratio of sap to syrup is about forty to one.

During the night boiling down he checks the fire every few hours.

"I just like being outside."

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