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

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is an invasive insect that feeds on certain species of hardwood trees, eventually killing them. The ALB especially likes maple tree.  The ALB most likely came to the United States inside wood packing material from Asia. Since it was first discovered in Brooklyn, New York in 1996, the beetle has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. If the ALB were to become established here, it could become one of the most destructive and costly pests ever to enter the United States. If we don’t find and stop the ALB, we’ll lose more than trees. We’ll lose industries worth billions of dollars – and wildlife habitats too. Our yards and neighborhoods will take decades to recover.

Read More at Beetle Busters

MapleAcres
Bottling Day PDF Print
Saturday, 23 March 2019 17:04
20 overnight.  43 and sunny today.  Above 32 by 9:30 AM.  Trees started dripping.  By Noon, dripping at a good rate with PSI up to 15.  We will wait to collect until tomorrow to catch the complete run.
Into the woods by 8:00 AM to empty a milk can into the finishing pan.  It was ready by 9:30 AM.  Filtered and started bottling.  But didn’t watch temperature carefully and the syrup got too hot and precipitated out particles making it cloudy.  We were about half done.  Stopped bottling this batch.    Back into the finishing pan along with half of milk can of syrup to finish and filter again.  Every year we seem to mess up a batch.  The syrup is good, its just more work to cut back density with sap, re-finish and re-filter.   We only bottled 1 ½ milk cans.  The plan was to bottle two milk cans.
The trees will drip into the late evening.  Forecast low is 30.
Back to the farmhouse by 3:00 PM.
 
Picked Up The Tail End Of The Big Run PDF Print
Thursday, 21 March 2019 18:20

34/45 today.  Started out cloudy.  Around 1:00 PM the clouds broke and the sun appeared.  Bottling plans fell through when we got sick this morning.   Recovering now, but taking it easy.

 

Crew when out collecting at 3:00 PM.  Picked up 200 gallons.  This was the tail end of the Monday/Tuesday run.  There was no new sap today.

 
Done Cooking PDF Print
Wednesday, 20 March 2019 18:40

30 overnight.  Cloudy and 38 during the day.  A little drizzle.  Into the woods by 6:00 AM to start cooking.  R/O going by 7:00 AM.  Went to 7° Brix.

 

Several interruptions during the day with visitors caused us to miss starting/stopping pumps or opening/closing valves.  We missed starting the transfer pump to empty the collecting tank into the storage tank.  By 10:00 AM the R/O stopped because it was out of sap.  We took the opportunity to run a rinse cycle before starting again. Then we missed closing the permeate value to the water storage tank.  This caused some sap  to back flow into it.  When visitor come we stop to talk with them, but it breaks our concatenation and routine causing us to miss a step in our process.

 

10 batches of syrup in the milk cans.  Filled two milk cans.  We had very good boils.  By 5:30 PM we were done.  Tomorrow we have to bottle again.

 
700 Galllons PDF Print
Tuesday, 19 March 2019 19:00

26 overnight.  Sunny and 45 today.  The last three days have been the idyllic weather associated with maple syrup season:   freezing nights, sunny days, the snow sill in the woods but melting.  We seldom get that.

 

Into the woods by 6:30 AM to wash the finishing pan.  Had help at 7:30 to dump in a milk can syrup.  We needed to bottle to free up milk cans for more syrup.  We had two full milk cans of syrup and started on a third.  We knew we would collect today and that meant more syrup coming.  Bottled 27 quarts.  Grade A Robust.  The first syrup is usually lighter.

 

Trees started dripping by 10:00 AM.  The sap from yesterday was already in the buckets so we knew there would be a big haul.  Set out collecting at 3:00 PM.   Many full or overflowing pails.  We had storage for 600 gallons.  Had a spare 100 gallon tank at the yet that we setup.  We ended up with 700 gallons of sap.

 

Our new pump and hoses with quick connect finally worked as envisioned.  This was a good to get the pump and hoses figured out..  The pump problem was a bad extension cord that didn’t deliver the volts or amps the pump needed to turn over.  It takes about 12 minutes to empty the collecting tank.

 

Tomorrow we cook.  Most likely we won’t cook through all 700 gallons.   Need to check if we have to collect tomorrow again.  But the dripping did slow down by 5:00 PM which is good.  Forecast is 33 overnight with clouds and snow showered tomorrow.

 
Focused On Cooking PDF Print
Monday, 18 March 2019 18:15

21 overnight.  42 and sunny today.  Trees started dripping around 11:00 AM.  We focused on cooking.  Wanted to get yesterday’s 410 gallons cooked down.

 

Into the woods by 7:00 AM.  Started the R/O by 8:00 AM.  We had to thaw some pipes and it took longer to wash the front syrup pan.  Went to 7° Brix.  R/O done by 1:00 PM.  Finished cooking by 4:00 PM.  Back to the farmhouse by 4:30 PM.

 

Better pressure on the R/O today.  Stayed at 400 PSI.  Fixing that leaky valve must have helped.

 

We may bottle tomorrow.  We will collect.  Expect a lot of sap.

 
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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.