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Category Archives: maple syrup

  • Down with the Sweetness

    Processing the honey we harvestedIMG_8705

    Maple Syrup & Honey this year

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  • Boiling day

    More mistakes made this year, due to scheduling & weather constraints we let ~100 gallons of sap freeze in the tanks. Because I filled them too much, a thaw actually pushed a lot of concentrated sap out the top… lessons learned…

    The stuff dripping out the top of the tank tastes quite sweet, and it’s fertilizing the lawn.

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    Fortunately we are also avoided a lot of mistakes we learned about last year. Boiling is much smoother a process now.

    Helping?

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    Totally safe, no problem

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    The smell…

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    Finishing on the stove

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    Not captured in pictures, carrying 8 gallons of boiling liquid back home at night, on snow and ice, with a thrown back. Having a shed and proper snow handling equipment will make an amazing difference in the years to come.

  • No sap production for weeks, getting the bucket ready for better weather ahead.

    The porcupine started exploring new paths, probably prompted by the warmer few days we had when we did the first round of sugaring. IMG_8282

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  • Tough sugaring so far

    Very tough sugaring so far, the weather isn’t cooperating. The conditions on the ground are horrible with ice and melting snow, you never know what will happen on the next step you take. Then you need to handle utensils in these conditions, next to a raging evaporator, glasses covered with steam, at night, by yourself. The potential is real for a freak accident that involves boiling, burning, impalement and maple syrup. We also had a wind storm which blew everything away but the cover on the evaporator thank god; a building around the evaporator will be very nice.

    Some trees produce profuselyIMG_8205

    The sap wagon
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    Got stuck… had to shovel snow out from underneath the sap wagonIMG_8211

    boiling awayIMG_8209

    Hello fogginess my old friendIMG_8215IMG_8220

    FuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuckIMG_8221

    The reward: 1.5 gallons of unadulterated maple sweetnessIMG_8230

  • The first collection

    I got about 30 gallons of sap, handling  full time work and a homestead can be challenging, I finished at dusk. It is a great chore to end the day with, I just wish I could do things at a more leisurely pace.IMG_8191

  • Maple sugaring, season 2

    We are ramping up again for our second season of Maple sugaring. With perfect weather ahead:

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    And based on a UVM study, I tend to prefer tapping early even with the chance of cold snaps as Winter & Spring figure out who the new boss is. Essentially from what I gather, you can’t tap too early but you can tap too late. I also really like the taste of early flow and the season is spread out in more manageable chunks of labor.

    This sled is proving to be invaluableIMG_8163

    The wife & kid are traveling but the neighbors are here to helpIMG_8165

    Cleaning the tanks and buckets takes a long while, it’s amazing we did it last year without a well for water.IMG_8170

    It takes a lot of work to get everything ready, we will apply a lot of lessons learned last year. I uncovered the evaporator and didn’t even have to kick out a raccoon.

  • Syrup loot so far

    A little more than 3 Gallons, maybe we don’t need that well after all.IMG_3719

    We overboiled the second batch slightly so it tastes a bit like caramel.IMG_4045

  • The little evaporator that could

    We fired our 2’x3′ Mason evaporator for our first boil ever. We boiled ~80 gallons in 12 hours. We’ve learned lots of lessons and will have to make several improvements to our current setup. It’s still very cool that we are now able to produce more than enough maple syrup to cover our family’s yearly consumption.FullSizeRender(2)

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    The smell is great

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    Boiling well into the night

    IMG_3491We still need to finish the syrup on our cookstove, filter it, and can it.