On Sunday morning, March 26th, 1820, the warming temperatures had stopped the maple sap. The family's sugar production would start when freezing temperatures would make the sap run from the roots to the branches. Joseph was exhausted. He was freed from the demands of sugar making. He had another problem. He was deeply troubled about his standing before God. The 14-year-old boy determined that he would ask God for forgiveness and direction. He went back to the grove where he had the day before left an axe in a stump. There he uttered his first prayer.
The Smith Family made sugar when the maple sap ran. The maple sap ran with daily changes in the temperatures between freezing and thawing. The weather record shows these kinds of daily changes in temperatures, therefore it is possible to determine the days when the Smith Family was engaged in the production of sugar. Sunday, March 26th, 1820 was a clear, warm, beautiful day. The temperature had been increasing since Friday. The sap had stopped running before Sunday morning. On that clear morning, Joseph Smith was freed from the keeping of the boiling fires and the carrying of the sap. Of all the clear mornings in early spring, on that Sunday he was free from sugar making. It was the Lord's Day, the Sabbath. On that day he went into the woods to pray.
This is an important point. Let us say it again. The Smith Family made sugar when the sap ran. The sap ran when temperatures fluctuated between freezing and thawing. When the temperatures were above freezing for for say 30 hours the sap stopped running. When temperatures were below freezing the sap also stopped running. There was a range of temperatures when the sap would run. It was when the temperatures were seesawing between freezing and thawing that there was a pump-action from the changing pressure inside the cells. Researches have found that these positive and negative pressures in the cells are caused because the dissolution rate of the carbon dioxide gas found in the cells changes according to temperature fluctuations. So, when we know the changes of daily morning temperatures in the early spring, we know on what days the Smith Family produced maple sugar. The conclusion is clear. The running of the sap had stopped before Sunday morning, March 26th, 1820. It was the Lord's Day, the Sabbath. On that day Joseph Smith was free to go to the woods to pray.
Here is a short movie that shows the labor that went into the production of old-fashioned maple sugar. The footage shows local farmers tapping trees and gathering sap in the sugar bush; sleds being pulled variously by dog, horse, and ox; the boiling of sap in cauldrons and the casting of sugar in wooden molds. This movie was made in Canada in 1941. Many aspects of sugar making in 1820 would have been similar to those depicted in the movie.
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