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

Category: 2015: Season 98 Page 1 of 5

81 Gallons

Bottled the last of the syrup today.  81 gallons for the season.  Above average.

 

All the buckets and covers are in.  Finishing and bottling pan clean.  R/O back in the house.  Tomorrow we finish washing milk cans, bring back various utensils and the syrup.  Wash the floor and take down the clock and unplug the radio.  By 1:00 PM we leave for the airport.

Song of the season:  Fight Song, Rachel Platten

Caught In The Rain Again

For the third consecutive year we were caught in the rain while cleaning the evaporator.   It did not rain as hard as past years and we were almost done, none the less we were still in the cold rain.  You just accept you will get cold and wet and carry on because it has to get done.  The evaporator is clean and shiny.

 

Storage tanks are cleaned.  Pipes down.  Bucket of spouts back to the house.    Bottled around 4:00 PM again.  One last bottling tomorrow.

 

We had thunder storms overnight with rain.  Rain again tonight with a wintery mix.  Tomorrow it warms to 50 and next week in the 60s.  In some way we want to get the buckets out of the woods.  We may have to let them dry at the house, but we want them out of the woods.

Cleanup Continues

Started the day by taking down the remaining 100 or so buckets and spouts.  Finished by 10:30 AM.   It rained overnight so the buckets from Monday have water on their bottom rim.  We turn the buckets upside down, but the rim on the bottom collects rain.  Now we have to wait for the sun to dry them.

 

Next cleaned the syrup pan on the evaporator.  Its nice an shiny again.    Also drained the R/O and took out the membrane.  The membrane will go back the manufacturer for cleaning during off-season.

 

Bottled at 3:00 PM.  We still have to bottle two more times.  We should end up with around 80 gallons of syrup for the season.

Cleanup Begins

Into the woods by 10:30 AM.   Started the R/O wash cycle first, then started cleaning the evaporator.  Empty the sap.  Take off the flue pan and rinse.  Replace the flue pan.  Get a tank of water and fill the flue pan with water.  Start the fire.  While the water warms, boil down the sap from the evaporator in the front syrup pan.

 

At 1:00 PM started the finishing pan so syrup would be ready shortly after 3:00 PM.   By 3:45 PM we were bottling.   After bottling returned to finished the sap on the evaporator.  By 7:30 PM back to the farmhouse.

Taking Down The Buckets

Into the woods by 11:00 AM to start taking down the spouts and buckets.  About ¾ down already.  Anyone in the area waiting for another sap run will be disappointed and not paying attention to trees.

 

Into cleanup mode now.  Tomorrow get the evaporator emptied and the sap in it boiled.  Get  the rest of buckets down.  Run a final wash cycle on the R/O.  And bottle.

Darker Syrup

Into the woods by 7:30 AM to cook down the last collection of 175 gallons.    Had the R/O going by 9:00 AM.   Running sap in by 9:30 AM.  Done cooking by 1:30 PM.  Back to the farmhouse by 2:00 PM.

 

The syrup was noticeably darker today.  That was expected as the season draws to a close.

 

Did not freeze overnight.  Cloudy and cold.  High around 38.   And its Easter today.

Season Ending

Down to 25 overnight.  Sunny and upper 40s today.  We were hoping for sap run.   But not much happening.  The trees tried to drip, but it looks like the end of the season.  We did pickup 175 gallons of sap.   This accumulated since Wednesday.   The sap actually looked good yet.  With the warm weather we were concerned it might spoil.   Weaker.  About 1.8 Brix.  If the nice freeze thaw cycle did not give us a big run, the season is ending.  A few trees are running good yet.  But also a lot of dry taps.

 

Tonight is 30. Tomorrow is a wintry mix changing to rain.  Tomorrow we cook.  Then get into cleanup mode next week.

Done By 5:00 PM Again

Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Back to the house by 5:00 PM again.  Cleaned the syrup pan and got the fire started under the evaporator.  Started the R/O by 9:15 AM.  Started running concentrate into the evaporator by 9:30 AM.  The R/O is finished by 10:45 AM.  Then run its wash cycles.  By 2:30 PM done firing and 215 gallons of sap are processed.

 

We bottled again today.  We still have 1 ½ milk cans of syrup to finish.

 

Cloudy and colder today.  About 37 for the high.  It did not freeze overnight.  Temps in the 40s.  It cooled during the day.     Tonight is mid-20s with 50 for tomorrow.  We are hoping for one last sap run.

Different Routine

Up to 63 today.  Only 40s overnight.  Its interesting to see the day change when you are outside all day.  Daybreak was sunny, but quickly got cloudy.  By 11:00 AM it rained.  Not a lot but got the surfaces wet.  By 2:30 PM it cleared and got sunny.   Tonight close to freezing and cooler tomorrow: only 40s.  We are hoping for one more sap run maybe by Saturday.

 

Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Its a different routine cooking with the R/O.   Still clean the syrup pan first, but then switch on the R/O.  225 gallons of sap becomes 112 gallons of concentrate.   By 10:00 you are feeding sap into the evaporator.  Batches of syrup become ready quickly.  By 3:00 PM our concentrate tank was empty.

 

We bottled syrup at 3:30 PM.  By 5:15 we were back in the farm house.    By comparison without the R/O it would have been 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM before finishing both today and tomorrow.

 

It felt like a sauna in the syrup building today.  When its warm outside the heat from the steam makes it even warmer inside.

435 Gallons Of Sap Put Us Over An Average Season

Down to 25 overnight.  That was unexpected.  Started out sunny, but clouds moved in by 10:00 AM.  Later this afternoon it cleared.  Temperature up to 48.

 

Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Busy day.  Cleaned syrup pan.  Prepped the R/O.  Started the fire.  Ran the R/O.   Had to empty a milk can into the finishing pan so we had room for today’s syrup.    Also managed the R/O water.   Filled everything we could and prepared water for washing the tanks.   Tried to save and use whatever we could as dumping it doesn’t make sense.  Batches of syrup become ready much quicker with concentrate so you are constantly monitoring.  It was 1:30 PM before we could even sit down.

 

By 3:00 PM our concentrate tank was empty and we were ready to collect.   Picked up 510 gallons.  But a lot of that run was from yesterday.   It tired to drip today but did not really get going.  Some taps are drying out.    The warm weather the next few days will not help.   This weekend its forecast for a return to freezing nights. Hoping for one more good run for the season.

 

Tonight does not freeze.  Tomorrow warm and rain possible.  Running an R/O wash tonight.  That will take 7 to 8 hours.

 

Into the house by 5:30 PM.

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