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
Tree Pressure PDF Print
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 16:42

10 overnight.  Sunny most of the day.  By 3:00 PM we were at 40.  By 3:30 PM clouds moved in.  We get rain Wednesday and Thursday with temperatures in high 40s to maybe low 50s.  Should be messy with much snow melt the next days.

 

20 PSI

Doing some science.    We connected a pressure gauge to a tap hole to measure tree pressure.  As a living organism with sap moving through it, it should have pressure fluctuations.  The pressure fluctuations move the sap through the tree.  Its our understanding from the maple researchers we should expect to see both positive and negative pressure.      Positive when the sap is flowing for collection and negative at night when the temperature drops below freezing.  We going to monitor this.

 

After tapping and setting up the gauge the pressure rose to 20 PSI.  It rose quickly and we could watch the pressure increase.

 

Brought the R/O into the woods.  The membrane is still in house where its warm.   We’ll take the membrane out when we are ready to use the R/O.

 
Slow PDF Print
Monday, 11 March 2019 17:22

18 overnight.  Sunny and 32 today, but little melting.  Nothing happening with the trees.

 

Got fittings to complete the fix on our tank pipes.  Turned over the evaporator pans.

 

Big weather change forecast.  Rain on Wednesday and low 50s on Thursday.

 
Measure Twice, Cut Once PDF Print
Sunday, 10 March 2019 16:01

Rain and ice followed by 1 1/2” of snow overnight.  Low around 28.  Up to 45 today.  A little melting is starting.  Tonight's forecast is 18.

 

On Saturday we worked on another tank plumbing project.  Replaced the PVC butterfly values with brass ball values that have a lever type handle.  When we thaw out the  PVC butterfly with the heat-gun, the PVC expands and causes the value to stick.  Its a challenge to open.   The brass should respond better to the heat and the handle is a lever.

 

But we did not follow the golden rule:  measure twice, cut one.  The piping it shaped like a big Y with the joint abutting the outside wall.  The new bass values add about 5 1/4” more length on the outside.  Without thinking or measuring we cut off that 5 1/4” from the stem pipe inside the building.    The ends of the Y outside now extended past the tank fittings.

 

Today we fixed that.  The pipes had an unneeded drain value.  We wanted to remove them anyway.  As it turns out, those values were about 5 1/4” on the outside.  We disassembled the pipes to remove the values.  Checked the fit.  We should be good.  We need to replace the inside stem pipe because its too short.  Planning to get PVC for that in place of the iron pipe that was used.

 
500 Taps Out PDF Print
Saturday, 09 March 2019 18:07

6 overnight.  We had hora frost this morning.  Everything was white.  Looked pretty.  It warmed up to 42 but there wasn’t much melting.  It was sunny until Noon.  Its gets windy with 1”-2” of snow forecast tonight.

 

Started tapping at 8:00 AM.  Slight delay because we misplaced the drill bits.  While preparing everything the drill bits ended up under some new buckets.    We had a crew of 7.   The snow is deep.  Went over the of the boots which are 14”.  The snow melted resulting in wet shoes but feet stayed warm.

 

By 12:30 PM we had 500 taps out.:  135, 100, 100, 100, 65

 

Also worked on some plumbing for the collecting tank.  Added a value with a quick connect which should make connecting to the pump easier and faster.

 

So we are ready once the weather breaks.

 
Winter's Grip PDF Print
Friday, 08 March 2019 07:29

We are still in Winter's grip. Overnight lows have been below 0 every day this week.  December was mild. The first half of January was mild, but then a polar vortex moved in plunging temperatures below 0 with -20s wind chill.  When polar vortex abated snow storms followed.  February was snow storm after snow storm.  There is 2’ to 3’ of snow in the woods.  It will be hard walking.

 

Bu we are expecting a change in the weather pattern.  The forecast has upper 30s for next week.  We plan to tap on Saturday, March 9.  Its time. The weather will break.  We want to be ready.  However, there is 3’ to 4’ of frost in the ground so it may take time for the tress to wake up.

14 Below 014 Below 014 Below 0

 
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Page 7 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.