Maple Time!

There are few things more “New England” than the sound of maple sap hitting the bottom of a tin bucket in early spring.  Last year, I wrote about our inaugural efforts to produce maple syrup in our new abode.  This year, we’re back at it, stepping it up a notch with more taps, some new equipment, and an improved design.  More to come on those developments in a future post, but for now, my trees are tapped!

The Sugarbush

 

In the above picture, you can see all of my multi-tap trees:  two doubles in the foreground, and one battleaxe in the background that has three buckets on it.  Things were a bit different this year, as we still have waist deep snow on the ground.  I tramped down some paths amongst all of my maples with my snowshoes last week, but when it warmed up this weekend, my paths disintegrated and I sunk into the wet snow up to my thigh.  It’s hard to retrieve the sap with snowshoes on, but hey, that’s how I roll.  A bigger problem might be the new trees I tapped in my “swamp.”

The Swamp

If you had panned the camera in the first picture to the left, this is what you’d see.  The problem is that this area is a bit of a lowland, and is now shin-deep with melting snow runoff.

Mrs. Dynamite is a warrior – she made this path out to the evaporator area, tramping down the path with snowshoes, and more importantly, shoveling out the area for the evaporator:

Frozen Tundra

Last year there was no snow on the ground, but this year I had to lug 40 cinder blocks across this soft Frozen Tundra, in order to build the evaporator (sporting a new heavy metal dual-plate base):

Evaporator Frame

Astute readers will notice that this evaporator is slightly different from last year’s model:  this time we’ll have the two pans at different levels, and will be able to take advantage of gravity and the food grade ball valves we installed on our brand new pans, courtesy of my father-in-law, Dad Dynamite.  No more ladling hopefully.

Tune in next week for a report of our first sap boil.

-KD

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