Mr. Wm. Edwards in his stories “Rustic Jottings from the Bush” tells some humorous stories of the experiences of green settlers in the early days. He tells one story about the first attempt of his father, John Edwards, to make maple sugar. Mr. Edwards had some fine maples on his farm and being told about the value of the maple for the making of sugar, decided to try sugar making.
Unfortunately he had never studied the effects of evaporation and thought the boiling process would be helped by keeping the kettles closely covered. Day after day he boiled away and expected the sugar to boil at the bottom of the kettles. Evaporation was partially secured by the steam raising the covers of the kettles and then contents grew gradually sweeter. Fresh sap was constantly supplied and though the sugar was looked for but no sugar appeared.
It never occurred to the poor fellow that to get sugar he must cease putting in sap and boil all down to a certain consistency. Business brought a member of the family forty miles from home when he witnessed the operation and the mystery was solved. On his return sugar was soon produced and the family luxuriated on the delicious product of the mania and thanked God for planting in the wilderness a tree so useful, living or dead.
Our boiling friend acquired such intense admiration for the maple that he vowed an axe would never touch them. A giant crop of these maples grew where he intended to clear for crop. All other kinds of trees were removed and the corn and potatoes planted beneath the sturdy sugar maples. Alas the ample foliage of their wide spread limbs so shaded and dwarfed the growing crops beneath that the luckless settler became convinced the same ground could not yield at the same time two such crops.
With feelings lacerated in a twofold sense the beloved maples were cut down and in their falling so smashed the corn and potatoes that little of either was harvested and thus his first season was to a great measure lost.
The next season Mr. Edwards put well away with a new crop in the fully cleared land, but later came once more to grief. At the far side of the newly cleared field was a thick bush. He looked to that bush for protection for his crop and did not put any fence on that side.
A bush will keep off sun. but will not keep out cattle. In July a large flock of neighbours’ cattle came through the bush invaded the unfenced clearing and the result can be guessed. The following morning presented a sight of desolation painful to be seen. That summer a fence was built and the following year a crop was tailed without interference.
Did you know we once had black corn growing here?
One of the first persons in Carleton Place to raise “Black Corn” was James Cavers who lived on High Street in the house once owned and occupied by Cecil Henderson. So what is black corn?
Although Black Aztec corn is drought tolerant, supplemental watering is important to ensure a healthy, mature crop. It will grow in dry conditions, but cobs will be small with small, hard kernels
Black Aztec is an heirloom corn variety recognized for its mature deep-purple to black kernels. This corn is best enjoyed fresh when it is young and still white. When ground, the mature dark kernels produce a coloured cornmeal useful in cooking. Black Aztec corn grows best in temperate climates with moderate to high amounts of rainfall.
James Cavers Geneology
|James Howard Cavers|
|DEATH:||16 Nov 1957 – Carleton Place|