Long ago, maple sap was collected in wooden buckets hung from a tree. The farmers gathered the buckets and dumped the precious sap into a large tank on top of a horse drawn sled. The buckets themselves were works of art, but so very heavy. I can't imagine how strong the people who collected the sap must have been! Then galvanized maple sap buckets were created. They were lighter and I would guess more durable and less prone to leaks. Still, each bucket had to be collected one by one and poured into a tank. Now, we use food grade plastic tubing and run lines through the forest and down to a sap collecting tank.
It's rare to find one of the old wooden sap buckets around. They are truly collector's items. The galvanized buckets, however, are much more readily found.
I live in a maple syrup area. Metal maple sap buckets can be found at auctions and stacks and stacks are tucked away in old barns. I've collected a few hundred of them because they're beautiful and functional. They make a lovely and unique palette for my painting and came up with a few designs that fits them. One popular design I create is a winter scene. Although the designs are similar, no two buckets are painted exactly alike.
I usually tuck tiny cardinals here and there throughout the evergreens. This bucket was special ordered with a slightly larger cardinal than I usually paint. The customer wanted her mother to be able to see them more readily.
Then I fill them with local goodies - maple syrup, maple coated nuts, jams, local honey, etc. to create a gift bucket.
This finished bucket cost $50.00.
But what do you do with the painted buckets? We keep ours beside the wood stove filled with kindling. I saw one prettily filled with pine cones. Put a plant (in it's own pot) inside one. Use one as an ice bucket for wine, beer, and sodas. Weight one with some rocks and then fill it with tall, interesting twigs and set it beside your front door. Whatever your imagination can conjure. Because I'm not sure of the integrity of the galvinization (is that a word?), and what was used to make the buckets (i.e. lead), I would hesitate to have food come in direct contact with the interior of the bucket.
I'll be posting pictures of my other designs and I hope to have a bunch of these and the other designs available for sale by the spring.
Be sure to go over to the blog hop at Frugally Sustainable!