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

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Sweet water

My son and I are getting excited to start the maple sugaring season again. I stopped in to my friends place the other day in Liberty, Pa. He has quite a large maple sugaring operation. He had mentioned to me that he had some supplies that he no longer needs and was either going to give them away or burn it all. It was apparently just taking up space and he had no use for them. So, of course, I came down to see what all he had. I was amazed as to the amount of equipment he had for his operation. He really had it down to an efficient system. He showed me all around his shack and explained how everything worked.

His sugar shack is quite impressive for the size of it. I will add pics of his shack to this post when I get them. Check back!

I was able to walk away with hundreds of feet of main line tubing, regular tubing and many many spiles. I am so appreciative!


The Sugar Shack

The Sugar Shack

I have been delightfully pleased by the output of the 15 taps I have. Two or three of my 5 gallon buckets have been overflowing by mid day! I just wonder how much I have lost because it filled over. I also had one hose back out of the bucket, and again the same tree, this morning the bucket had blown away. Fortunately, that tree isnt a huge producer, but every little bit adds up! I just went to my friends house and dumped 25 gallons into his bulk tank.

As I stated before, I am just tapping and collecting. He has the time, equipment and experience to boil it down. So I get half the maple syrup that my sap produces as a trade off for not having to boil it. So anyway, I went to his sugar shack and no one was around. I was hoping he would be home, so I could have gotten his picture in here. Maybe when he starts boiling I will run over and get some pics of the process.

I posted a picture of a sugar shack that looked like his a few posts back. Today while dumping my buckets, I decided to snap a few pics of his shack for you to see. He has a stainless bulk tank that is really just an oldĀ  milk tank from a dairy farm. He has hoses from tapped trees all leading to this tank through one final hose. Then out the back he has another hose attached at the bottom with a shut off valve. This hose goes straight out the back as the hill slopes down the hose stay straight and meets the shacks roof where it enters the shack. Quite ingenuous if you ask me!

Bulk tank for sap storage

Bulk tank for sap storage

Hose entering shack through eves

Hose entering shack through eves

Then in the shack he has an evaporator. I believe his set up has evolved over the years getting more and more efficient with better equipment. As you can see there isn’t much room inside, and my flash doesn’t work, so its a bit dark.

Evaporator

Evaporator

The shack is built into the hill so that the back side provides a wood storage place to keep the wood under roof. If you are outside, you can see at around head level, there is a trap door to feed the wood insede the shack. This is a very efficient way to feed the stove under the evaporator! inside the shack. As you can see, it takes a lot of wood to make the amount of sap that they make. The more efficient your evaporation the less wood you need. My friends set up is quite efficient…he just makes a lot of syrup!

Wood

Wood

Dry wood and trapdoor

Dry wood and trapdoor