This is a hand-made iron spike used to hold a bucket in place for collecting tree sap. The spikes are usually hooked on one end in order to securely fasten the bucket to the spike.
Maple syrup production is one of the few agricultural processes in North America that was not a European import but learned from Native Americans. Sap is typically collected from the Sugar, Red or Black maple, though it can be collected from other tree types. Northeastern North America is the most common area for maple syrup production, with Vermont, New York and Maine leading production in the U.S. Once the sap is collected, it must be boiled down to reduce the water content. It can require anywhere from 20-50 liters of sap to make one liter of syrup, depending on the sugar content of the sap. Each tree is capable of producing 35-50 liters of sap.
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