SUGAR is obtained in several different ways. That most commonly used is made from the sugarcane, a plant somewhat resembling our common Indian corn. The stalks are cut while yet tender, and taken to a mill, where they are crushed; and from the juice obtained, sugar and molasses are made. In some countries, sugar is made from the beetroot, and it is said that it is just as clear and sweet as the best white sugar made from the sugarcane.

But another very nice sugar is made from the juice of the sugar-maple tree, which grows in some parts of this country. In the early spring, when the winter begins to break up, is the time when this sugar is made; for then there is an abundance of juice, or sap, in the trees. Some other trees yield even more sap than the sugar maple, but it is not as sweet. The different processes of maple-sugar-making are so well represented in our picture, that a description of them scarcely seems necessary. When the sugar makers think that the proper time has come, the trees are tapped, as it is called. This is done by cutting or boring a small hole in the side of the tree. Into this hole is placed a grooved piece of wood, called a spile. This is to carry the sap into the bucket, which is placed underneath. Several hundred trees are usually thus tapped, and these taken together are called the "sugar-bush." Sometimes the sap trickles slowly, and at other times it runs very fast, filling the buckets in a few hours.

The next thing in order, is to "gather" the sap. Sometimes this is done "by hand," as represented in the upper right-hand corner of the picture; but usually it is done with a team, as shown below. The sap is now taken to the camp, or boiling-place, where it must first all be strained, after which it is placed in large iron kettles over a very hot fire, made by rolling together logs and chunks of wood. It is frequently, however, boiled in large sheet-iron pans, placed above a rude furnace, or "arch," made of clay and stones; and under this the fire is built. 

Sometimes the boiling place is covered by a shelter, as in the picture, and sometimes it is out in the open air. 

The sap is boiled until it becomes a thin syrup, when it is taken from the pans and put into large jars to settle. 

As it takes some fifty pails of sap to make one of syrup, the boiling must be kept going on constantly, night and day, and even then considerable sap sometimes runs to waste. So the sugar-makers must stay up all night, out in the grand old woods, and keep the fires burning brightly, and watch that the sap does not boil over. The firelight reflected on the white snow and the old forest trees, must form a pleasant picture; and the sound of the sap trickling into the buckets makes pleasant music for them. 

And withal there is doubtless just enough romance about it to take away the irksomeness of the task; for the "run" does not usually continue many days.

The last and perhaps most interesting process is "sugaring-off." The syrup, which has now settled clear, is put into a clean kettle or pan, and boiled until it becomes sugar. 

Now the friends and neighbors are invited to come to the bush to eat warm sugar, and a right merry time they have. The hot sugar is made into wax by putting it on the snow, or is stirred into grain in a saucer, or other dish. Finally, when it is boiled sufficiently, it is turned into pans and left to cool, or cake; when it may be removed, and the cakes stowed away for use. Those who depend upon maple sugar must make enough to last through the year, as it can be made but once in a year, and then only for a few days.

But we hear many of the boys and girls who have helped make sugar, saying, "I could tell a better story than that about making sugar, myself." And we do not doubt it, as it isn't the easiest thing to describe what you have never seen done.

E. B.