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A Sweet Sugar Maple Story

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Maple sugaring time is always bittersweet at Susan Fox’s house in Waukesha. Her husband, Dr. Paul Fox, started the family’s maple sugaring tradition soon after they built their house in the late 1970s. Every March, he delighted in the intensive process, from tapping the huge sugar maples in their yard to the final boil of the syrup. All six of the Fox children had a role, and often friends and family would join in. The Foxes were generous in gifting their pure maple syrup in the community, and even created a private label for their gifts.

The largest sugar maple in the yard was Dr. Fox’s favorite tree, and it was still a large producer when he passed away in 2012. A few years later, the tree suffered severe storm damage. Susan’s oldest son Paul, who grew up woodworking with his dad, suggested turning it into live-edge slabs. Susan’s middle daughter, Margaret, had worked with Hoppe before, and knew of the Urban Wood Lab. Susan called Hoppe Tree Service to remove the tree and take the large logs to the Urban Wood Lab.

When the sugar maple wood is ready, Paul plans to build a live-edge slab desk for his home. Margaret plans to have her husband build bookshelves from the tree for their kids. After the Urban Wood Lab mills and kiln-dries the wood, there should be enough material for cutting boards, baseball bats and other projects too.

The Fox family has grown to include 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Many live in communities nearby. Though the family hasn’t continued with the maple sugaring tradition, it’s still a fond memory they share when they gather at Susan’s house. They look forward to having Dr. Fox’s favorite tree live on as famiy heirlooms for years to come.

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