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
45 Minutes PDF Print
Thursday, 28 March 2019 19:17

Syrup was ready at 45 minute intervals today.  That was a first.  There is not time to do much in between batches.  A few cycles of fire, check pumps, adjust sap level in pan then take off another batch.  It keeps you very busy.  12 batches into the milk can.  All 625 gallons cooked through.    With the temperature reaching the 50s we wanted to get all the sap cooked.  Sap doesn’t keep well when it gets warm.

 

Into the woods by 6:00 AM.  R/O going by 7:05 AM.  It ran 7 ½ hours today.  Served us well.  Went to 6° Brix.  Pressure held at 400 PSI.  Had good boils.  But nitre was going to drive the day:  if we get too much of a nite build up in the syrup pan we can’t boil hard.  By batch 6 we had fair amount of nitre but boiling was still good.  Nitre continued to accumulate, but boils stayed good so pushed on until done.

 

Batches of Syrup into the Milk Can

1   7:35

2   8:30

3   9:15

4  10:00

5  10:40

6  11:25

7  12:25

8   1:50

9   2:35  R/O also finished

10  3:20

11  4:10

12  5:05

 

We now have four milk cans of syrup waiting for bottling.

 

Warm weather pattern the next few days.  The snow is disappearing fast.  We need colder weather for more sap.  47 overnight.  55 today.   Cloudy with a few rays of sun.

 

Back to the farmhouse by 6:00 PM.

 
625 Gallons PDF Print
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 18:44

28 overnight.  Cloudy today and 43.  Wind picked up at 1:00 PM, but didn’t get a windy as forecast.  Doesn’t freeze tonight.  Tomorrow forecast for 50.  We need a colder pattern for more sap.

 

As we guessed, the run was over today.  Tree pressure only 3 PSI.  Collected at 3:00 PM.  Picked up 625 gallons.  Done by 5:00 PM.

 

Bottled this morning.  Into the woods by 8:00 AM.  Finished bottling by 1:15 PM.  The temperate got away on another batch and got cloudy.  We stopped bottling at that point.

 

Tomorrow we cook. We’ll need to decide if we cook it all tomorrow or hold some back until Friday.    It depends on how the R/O works and if we get a nitre buildup in the pan.

 
Nitre Today PDF Print
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 17:54

20 overnight.  42 and sunny today.  Trees dripping.  There is run going on.  Plan to collect tomorrow so we get the complete run.  PSI up to 15.  Dropped to 7 PSI late afternoon.  Forecast for 30 tonight.

 

Into the woods by 6:30 AM.  Got the R/O going by 7:15 AM.  But it stopped shortly after starting.  That had us worried: we’ve grown dependent on the R/O.  We quickly realized it stopped because the  pipes froze up.  Liquid entering cold pipes can freeze.  Put the heat gun on the pipes for a few minutes and we were back in operation.

 

Six batches into the milk can today.  Nitre appeared in the pan.  That’s not surprising.  It was surprising that we didn’t have nitre before this.

 

All tanks empty.  Waiting for more sap.  Back to the farmhouse by 2:00 PM.

 
Try Again Tomorrow PDF Print
Monday, 25 March 2019 18:31

We didn’t finish cooking.  If everything went right we would’ve finished by 4:00 PM.  It didn’t go well.  Into the woods by 6:15 AM.  Had the R/O going by 7:00 AM.   Had two batches into the milk can by 9:00 AM.  Then started feeling unwell.  Chills.  Tried to work through it but by 10:00 AM it was obvious we needed to rest.  Shutdown.  Back to the farmhouse by 10:30 AM.   By 12:30 PM feeling better, but the R/O was into its wash cycle.  Then needed to cool.  We were not able to fire up again.  We will retry in the morning.  Feeling fully recovered now.

 

Returned to the woods at 4:30 PM to deal with the concentrate.  Concentrate doesn’t keep well.  So we pumped back into the storage tank, then added R/O water to get back to 2° Brix.

 

20 overnight.  A cold northeast wind made the ground frozen hard.  36 and sunny today but the northeast wind continued most of the day.  The trees did start dripping.   Low 20s help stimulate that.  Tonight is low 20s again but warmer, low 40s, tomorrow.  The sap run should contine.

 
Over Half Way By Sap Volume PDF Print
Sunday, 24 March 2019 18:56

30 overnight.  42 during the day.  Mostly cloudy until late afternoon when the sun appeared.  Then a cold northeast wind came up.

 

Checked the trees at Noon.  Good amount of sap in the buckets.  Trees dripped into late night before temperature dipped below freezing.  The sap run that started yesterday was coming to an end.  Tree pressure dropped to 4 PSI.  We started collecting an hour earlier at 2:00 PM.  We usually start at 3:00 PM.  By 4:30 we were done.  Picked up 475 gallons.

 

Based on sap volume collected so far, we are over half way of an average season.  Collected 1960 gallons of sap so far.  For an average season we would collect about 3200 gallons of sap.

 

Forecast for mid 20s tonight.  That’s a good for keeping the sap flowing.

 
« StartPrev12345678NextEnd »

Page 4 of 8

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.