I gathered all the supplies (a chair, a cup of coffee, a book, my tablet)... Oh, and of course, got the evaporator, plenty of firedwood, and the sap.
|A beautiful day to boil sap!|
|Get a good roaring fire going.|
What you are doing is taking a solution with about 2-3% sugar, and boiling away the excess water, to concentrate it down to a 67% sugar solution. So we are talking LOTS of evaporation that has to happen.
As the sap cooks, it changes from a clear, water-like liquid, into an increasingly amber colored and thicker
one. After awhile, you can begin to smell that maple sugar aroma. Mmmmmmm.
Although I brought out a book, my tablet, a cup of coffee and a chair with me, I don't think I sat down for more than 10 minutes all day, and only got one page of my book read. There was just stuff that needed doing. I split the pine boards we were burning, so they would burn better. I had to shovel off the snow on the roof of the shed because it was melting and dripping right into the sap pan! I had to go make the rounds twice to gather more sap from the buckets (its like job security, those trees just keep pumping out the sap!) I set up my small Rocket Stove to pre-warm the sap so that it didn't slow the boil down so much when I had to add extra to the pans.
And then there was lunch, and the neighbors came by, and , well, before you know it, the day has gone by and we are still boiling. I say "we" - it was just me out there, but I guess I count the dogs and chickens. Steve was at a 20 mile road race today, or I'm sure he would have been here helping. I was supposed to go, but hey, sap doesn't wait! This had to happen today.
|I don't know why this picture insists on being sideways. I am just showing that it's now late afternoon and the moon has come out.|
|The last rays of daylight silhouette my best-producing maple tree.|
|It's late enough that the Chickens have gone to roost. Their main roost is an old orchard ladder . The boss hen gets to have the highest spot. See her? Doesn't she look bossy?|
|A shaft of late-day sunlight seems to focus right on the evaporator and the cloud of steam rising.|
It's Dark and I'm Still Out Here