The Maple Sugar Book

"A complete syrup and sugar maker comprises in himself a woodcutter, a forester, a botanist, an ecologist, a meteorologist, an agronomist, a chemist, a cook, an economist, and a merchant.  Sugaring is an art, an education, and a maintenance."

 

Helen and Scott Nearing
The Maple Sugar Book, 1950

Threats to Maple Trees

Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive wood boring beetle that feeds on the tissues under the bark of ash trees (Fraxinus spp) and kills them. EAB is 100% fatal to native ash trees of any size, any age, healthy or unhealthy, (according to research by Michigan State University and the US Forest Service).  Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is not a threat to human health but it does threaten our forest and urban tree populations.

The metallic green EAB beetle is native to East Asia and was accidentally imported to the United States within the wood of shipping crates from China. EAB was first discovered in North America near Detroit, Michigan in 2002. Since then the beetle has spread to several eastern and midwestern states, including Wisconsin. EAB has also been found in Canada.

 

Read more at Wisconsin's Emerald Ash Borer Information Source.

MapleAcres
Snow, Sap, Sun PDF Print
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 19:49

Snow flurries this morning between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM.  No accumulation, but a white coating on the ground.

 

The trees ran through the night.  It was a good run.  Buckets ½ to running over.  We collected 575 gallons.  That should give us an average season based on sap volume.  Started collecting at 3:00 PM.  Problems with transfer pump again.  Somehow it was getting air and not pumping at full capacity.  Took about 25 minutes instead of 12 minutes to empty.

 

By 5:00 PM the sun was out.   Forecast for 32 tonight.  50S tomorrow.

 

After collecting cleaned the syrup pan of the evaporator.    It had a heavy buildup of nitre for our last cooking.  Took an hour to clean, but its now ready for the morning.

 

The filter press pump part arrived.  We replaced it so we are ready to finish and bottle again.  Now we just have to find time.  Three milk cans now.  We’ll add to that tomorrow when we cook.

 
Tree Pressure Up PDF Print
Monday, 01 April 2019 17:54

18 Overnight: colder than forecast.  42 today but mostly cloudy.  Sunrise was clear, but clouds quickly moved it.  By Noon we had snow flurries.  Lasted two hours.

 

Sap trying to move.  Trees are dripping.  Pressure up.  Monitoring to figure out if we collect tomorrow or Wednesday.

 

Filter press hand pump part should arrive tomorrow.

 
Make Or Break Week PDF Print
Sunday, 31 March 2019 18:55

21 overnight.  Cold north wind today.  Partly sunny.  37 maybe.  Did get above freezing until around Noon.  Felt cold.  The trees did start to drip later.  Trees pressure up to 7 PSI.  Tonight low 20s again.  Tomorrow forecast for low 40s.  This is the pattern we need.  If we make an average season, it will happen this week.

 
Pump Blowout On Filter Press PDF Print
Saturday, 30 March 2019 17:25

The base on hand pump cracked and leaked syrup while filtering. We had to stop filtering.  We checked our records:  the same piece cracked in 2017.  We got the filter press for 2002 season so the original part lasted 15 years.  We were not expecting the base to crack again so soon.  We keep a spare diaphragm on hand because they wear out from the pumping action.   But the base is just a reservoir although it does get the pressure generated from the pumping action.

 

33 overnight.  Cloudy windy most of the day.  Snow flurries at 12:45 PM.  By 3:45 PM the sun was out.  Forecast for low 20s next two nights with high around 40.  That’s what we need.

 

Into the woods at Noon for finishing and bottling.  We were planning a big weekend of bottling.  We had 4 milk cans of syrup.    Planned to bottle 1 today and 2 or 3 tomorrow.  Now we have to wait for parts to recover from the pump blowout.    Time is running out.   Back to the farmhouse by 4:00 PM.

 
By The Numbers PDF Print
Friday, 29 March 2019 18:15

30 overnight.  42 and partly cloudy today.   30 for a few hours isn’t low enough to stimulate a sap run.  We need mid-20s for 8-10 hours.

 

We’ve collected 6 times this season.  During a normal season we’d collect 9-11 times.

 

We cooked 625 gallons in 12 hours yesterday:  that’s 52 gallons per hour.

 

R/O processed 625 gallons in 7 ½ hours:  that’s 83 gallons per hour.  We should get 115-120 gallons per  hour.  Considering replacing the membrane for next season.  The first two seasons we were inexperienced with proper washing of the membrane and it wasn’t treated well.

 

We collected 2785 gallons of sap so far.  That’s approximately 68 gallons of finished syrup.  We consider 80 gallons an average season.  We need approximately 500 more gallons of sap to reach an average season.

 
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2019 Season @ A Glance

Taps
Mar 9    135
Mar 9    100
Mar 9    100
Mar 9    100
Mar 9     65
Mar 12     3
Total     503

Tree Pressure
Mar 12   20 PSI
Mar 13     5 PSI
Mar 14     2 PSI
Mar 15     2 PSI
Mar 16   13 PSI
Mar 17   15 PSI
Mar 18   15 PSI
Mar 19   13 PSI
Mar 20     1 PSI
Mar 21     1 PSI
Mar 22     1 PSI
Mar 23   15 PSI
Mar 24    4 PSI
Mar 25   -1 PSI
Mar 25   13 PSI
Mar 26   15 PSI
Mar 27     2 PSI
Mar 28     0 PSI
Mar 29     0 PSI
Mar 30     0 PSI
Apr  01    7 PSI
Apr  01   15 PSI
Apr  02    4 PSI
Apr  03    1 PSI
Apr  04    7 PSI
Apr  05    1 PSI
Apr  06    0 PSI

Sap        Gal   Brix
Mar 14    375   2.5
Mar 17    410   2.5
Mar 19    700   2.5
Mar 21    200   2.0
Mar 24    475   2.0
Mar 27    625   2.0
Apt  02    575   2.0
Apr  05    285   2.0
Total      3645

Bottled  Qt   Pt   500   250
Mar 19    26    2
Mar 22    28    3
Mar 23    12    2             1
Mar 23    31    6     2      1
Mar 27   12    15   16     14
Mar 27   10
Mar 30   12    20            2
Apr  04  24    18
Apr 04   24    15
Apr 04   24      6             1
Apr 07  18     16             13
Apr 07  15       1    18     27
Apr 07  21     20             2
Apr 10  14                      2

2018 Season @ A Glance

Taps
Feb 22     200
Feb 23     100
Feb 24     209
Total        511

 

Sap        Gal   Brix
Feb 26   435   2.25
Mar 03   400   2.00
Mar 05   255   2.50
Mar 12   400   3.00
Mar 15   440   2.25
Mar 18   505   2.00
Mar 23   325   2.50
Mar 25   400   2.00
Mar 27   415   2.00
Mar 29   200   2.00
Mar 31   165   2.00
Apr   6     25   3.00
Total :    3965

 

Bottled  Qt  Pt  500  250
Mar 10    25   3
Mar 10    15  16
Mar 10    19                2
Mar 11    20   1    2     1
Mar 17    24   14  2     2
Mar 21    37    2
Mar 22    38
Mar 27    28
Mar 27      2   1
Mar 27   25    12
Mar 29   24    10
Mar 31   24    14
Apr   7   27      2   6
Apr   7   17    12  10   1
Apr  10  23     1

Total:  101 gal

In Memoriam

Ned T. Zander died Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in the home where he was born, lived, and passed. He was surrounded and comforted by his loving family.

Ned was a Maple Syrup producer. His parents introduced him to Maple Syrup making. He made Maple Syrup all his life.  First with his parents, then with brother, Paul Zander, and later with help from family and friends. He was a member of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association. In recent years he enjoyed attending the annual meeting of the North American Maple Syrup Council in various US states and Canadian provinces where he could talk about maple syrup 24 hours a day.  In October 2006 during the North American Maple Syrup Council annual meeting the participants toured his humble sugarbush.  Ned was thrilled to show his small operation to large producers from Vermont, Maine, New York and Quebec.

Ned was also an avid woodsman. Over the course of his life he cut and split approximately 700 cords of firewood for heating his home, cooking maple syrup or selling. He also made logs from his woods that he sold to Algoma Lumber Company.

We plan to continue making Maple Syrup not only to honor Ned, but also because we like doing it.

Old Maple Syrup makers never die, they just evaporate.