Snowshoes

Hey Folks! Its that time of year again. The days are getting noticeably longer and the temperatures are a tad above freezing but still below freezing at night. That means the sap is starting to run up the sugar maple trees. Its time to put your taps in and drain a little out for your pancakes!

New tubing zip tied to high tensile wire

The snow here is still quite deep so I have taken to snowshoes to make the trek out to the sugarbush a little easier. I have been taking any spare time to go out and string up a new addition to my system. My friend is making available his high tensile wire. So this past weekend I ripped out all my existing tubing and taps and put up high tensile wire. Now I have a “backbone” to attach my new lines to. This will keep my tubing from sagging as it has in the past.  Sags in the lines do not allow for good sap flow. Its best to have as straight a line as possible always in an unlevel position to let the sap flow down instead of collecting in the sags. This has always been a problem for me.

The trick to no sags!

I am also adding about 30 more taps this year. I am very excited about these as they are nice big trees. Half of these will be collected by drop lines into buckets. In the past those bucket lines have produced so much that the buckets were always overflowing by the time I got back from work that afternoon. This year I am going to split the line right before it drops into the bucket so that I will have 2 buckets per one tap.

Hurry before the sun goes down!

I also have new tubing and taps which will cut down on the bacteria being introduced into the tree which would increase the speed of healing of the tap hole. As you can assume, the faster it heals, the shorter the time you have to collect sap from that hole. Sometimes you can freshen up the hole again by reaming it out if you still have good weather approaching but it is often considered not a good practice. I have done it in the past and it allows for more sap to flow for a few more days.

In the next few days I plan on hanging all my tubing and then hopefully tapping this coming weekend. I will post pics as I get them.

A beautiful day.


Jeff's Sugar Shack

This spring has not been the best of seasons for the maple syrup producers. The weather patterns, though delightful to enjoy, have been misery for sap collection. In mid February there was a run of days where the daytime temperature was around 40 and the nights were around 2o-30 degrees. This is perfect for a sap flow. However many figured it was a tad early to tap the trees. Keep reading


Sugar Shack

Sugar Shack

Now that all the sap has been collected for the year, the next process is boiling it. Although, boiling starts before collection is finished. As I mentioned in previous posts, I have been taking my sap to a friends sugar shack to have them boil it. They already have quite an elaborate system, so I figured that was the best arrangement.
As you see in the photos there is a large evaporator that takes up most of the space in the sugar shack.

Friends in the sugar shack

Friends in the sugar shack

Under the evaporator is where the fire is burning. The large stainless steel section holds the sap coming in from the bulk tank. This is where the majority of the water is boiled off. Then it flows to the front pan by way of a valve. In the front pan the sap is then “finished” off. This is where it turns to syrup. By the use of a hydrometer and the good old “drip test”, my friends determine when the syrup is at the right consistency. From there, they pour it off into 5 gallon buckets where it sits for about 2 weeks to let any residue or sediment settle to the bottom. From there, it gets bottled and sold or given away.

Evaporator

Evaporator