Maple Syrup: Nature's Spring Tonic. -- Since 1918

Category: 2014: Season 97 Page 1 of 4

Finished During A Cold, Hard Rain

Again.  Just like last season.  Cleaned the evaporator during a cold, hard rain. With thunder and lighting too.   It started raining around 11:00 AM and didn’t stop until around 7:00 PM.  But the evaporator had to be cleaned so you do it in the rain.   By 2:00 PM it was clean.

 

Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Back to the house by 7:30 PM.  All the spouts were pulled and the buckets and covers in before the rain started.  That was huge.

 

After the evaporator was cleaned we had a final milk can of syrup to bottle.  That was ready around 6:00 PM.  After clean up we were done and back the house.

 

Season 97 comes to a close.   Total syrup:  60 gallons.

Song of the Season:  Let It Go (from Disney’s Frozen)  Idina Menzel

Tomorrow we fly back.

Every Hour Counts

Push to finish now.  Every hour, every task counts now as time is not our friend. We must be done by tomorrow.  Sunday we fly back.

 

Got a tank of water this morning.  Emptied all the sap from the evaporator.  About 16 gallons.   Filled the big pan with water and cleaning solution.  Sap in the front.  Light the fire to cook the sap and warm the water with the cleaning solution.  In between we picked up buckets and covers and took spouts.  About 75 buckets and covers remain to pickup.  And about 150 of the blue 5/16” spouts need to come out yet.  Those spouts are harder to remove.  They grip the hole tightly and will break if you are not very careful and patient removing them.

 

After dusk we stayed to finish and bottle the sap we cooked down from the evaporator.  It was warm so it was fast.  Small batch of 2 gallons.  Grade B syrup.  Tomorrow we have a milk can full to finish and bottle yet.

 

Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Back to the house by 9:15 PM.

 

To finish tomorrow.

 

Clean evaporator

Finish and bottle last milk can of syrup

Get all the buckets, covers and spouts in

 

 

Cleanup Mode

Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Back to the house by 9:00 PM.  Done cooking.   Finished by 4:30 PM.  Then simmered to reduce the sap in the evaporator to make emptying it easier.   Around 20-30 gallons of sap remains in the evaporator to cook out.   Tomorrow we consolidate all that into the front pan.  The bigger back pan gets filled with water and cleaning solution.  Then we light the fire.   The back pan cleans while the front pan finishes off the sap.

 

Took down the pipes from the storage tanks to the evaporator.  Started pulling taps too.

 

It was about 60 today.

Buckets Down

Into the woods by 10:00 AM.  Back to the house by 10:30 PM.  At 11:00 AM we set out to collect and take down the buckets.  With this warm weather the sap will not keep.  It did freeze last night:  about 26 overnight.  Sunny and 52 for the high.  The trees dripped some, but not enough to keep going.

 

Flooded the tractor.  It sat for a while as we collected and removed buckets.  Tried to start without using the choke.  Did not catch on the firing.  We let the tractor sit in the woods and went for the ATV.  The trails are good with the mud pretty much gone.  The ATV was fine pulling the wagon and tank.   We got the tractor running after we finished collecting.

 

By 3:30 PM we finished collecting.  The first collection of the season was solo and the last collection of the season was solo.  Got 215 gallons of sap.  2.8 Brix,  And it was nice clear sap.  But if it stood a day or so yet it would go bad.

 

Started the evaporator by 4:30 PM and cooked until 10:30 PM.  That gives us a head start for tomorrow.  We have to finish cooking by late afternoon and push on with cleanup.

Only 14 Hours Today

Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Back to the house by 10:00 PM.  Over an hour to clean the pan this morning.  Emptied the 175 gallon tank by 6:30 PM.  Then we bottled.  33 quarts.

 

About 36 overnight.  Partly sunny and 55 during the day.  It gets hot in the syrup building when its warmer outside.  The steam from the evaporator warms the building.  And when opening the fire doors on the evaporator you really get a blast of hot air from the firebox.

 

The forecast is for 50s during the day and 40s or mid 30s overnight.  No more consistent freezing nights.  So the season is over.    One last collection tomorrow.

Another 15 Hour Day

Into the woods by 7:30 AM.  Back to the house by 10:30 PM.  15 hours.   Only the 175 gallon tank remains to cook through tomorrow.

 

About 30 overnight.  Mostly sunny and 55 today.  No sap run.  The plan is to take down the buckets on Wednesday and get into clean up mode.

 

Nitre a little better today.  Three batches of syrup into the milk can.  Tomorrow we want to bottle as we already have one full milk can.

The Last Hurrah?

Collected 300 gallons today.  High 20’s overnight: 29 or 30.  Sunny and 50 for the high.  The trees gave more sap.  But some taps are dry.  And the sugar content is going down:  2.6 today.  Forecast for this week looks like we loose our freezing nights.  That will finish us.  The woods is now mostly clear of snow expect for the piles we made when opening the trails.

 

Cooked through about 275 gallons today.  Into the woods by 7:30 AM .  Back to the house by 10:30 PM.  15 hours.  Took a long time to clean the pan this morning again because of the nitre build up.  And we struggled with nitre all day while boiling. Almost had a boil over because of the nitre.   After 1 ½ hours of boiling the nite build appeared already.  This nitre build up is a new development we have not seen in past seasons.

 

Much smaller crew for collecting today.  We also bottled another 31 quarts.    First day this season we boiled, bottled and collected.

Another 350 Gallons Of Sap

Collected 350 gallons today.  2.6 Brix.  Mid 20s overnight.  Sunny and 42 today.  Quite the contrast to yesterday.  Lots of visitors and help today.  We had 11 people collecting.  One stayed on the tractor to drive and another just emptied pails into the tank.  We started about 3:15 PM and finished by 4:30 PM.

 

We are up to 1760 gallons of sap now.  Slowly we keep increasing.

 

Forecast is for 30 overnight and 50 tomorrow.  Not sure if it will be cold enough for a run.  But today’s run will last into the night.  We do plan to collect tomorrow again.

Tanks Empty Again

Did not freeze overnight.  About 35 for the high today.   Cloudy.  A little rain.  Some flurries during the day.  More snow late in the day.

 

Into the woods by 8:00 AM to cook.  Took a long time to clean the syrup pan.  The nitre is still building up on the pan.  Still now sure why, but its like we did not clean it for 3 or 4 days.

 

After a water run, we started the finishing pan.  Bottled 33 quarts.

 

All the tanks are now empty.  Three more batches into the milk can.

 

Tomorrow we plan to collect whatever is there.  With luck the weather will be with us.  Its forecast for mid-20’s over night and 40s and sunny tomorrow.

 

There is still ice around the building.   Very late for that.   Snow in the woods too yet.

A Pause For Weather

Cooked all day.  Into the woods by 7:00 AM back to the house by 8:30 PM.  Emptied the 225 gallon tank.  Cloudy all day.  Might have hit 35.  Tonight and tomorrow some weather is forecast to come in.  It seems confusing about what it will be: rain, freezing rain, or snow.  It will all depend on temperature.   Our next day for sap looks like Saturday.

 

Tomorrow will cook through the remaining tank.  That will make five days this week cooking.

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