It looks like it will be just about time to tap the maple trees here in Connecticut this weekend. We are expecting highs in the 40's and lows in the 20's for a week or so. This will be perfect to get the sap flowing in the trees. As we mentioned before, we are making some new acquisitions here on the farm. We've made some progress in the silo front, and Erica is going to check it out in person and get some photos next week. We really can't install it until the ground softens up.
Until then, though, our thoughts are on sugaring! We have placed a deposit on a new evaporator. It is a long way off from our homemade deal that we have used in the past years. We actually started with a tiny pan on a mobile fire-pit, and then progressed to a series of woodstoves and cinderblock evaporators. This year we will be moving up to a much more efficient system. Not only will we cut down on our wood consumption, but we will also be able to cut down on all that sitting around and waiting that accompanied each of our older evaporators. Not that sitting around and waiting isn't an integral part of sugarin'...but we have lots of new chores this year at the farm to fill any and all "free" time...
Here is what the new evaporator will look like. Erica is going to try to pick it up this weekend, and with any luck we will be sugarin' in a few days.
The next shot is from our latest homemade setup. We actually were pretty darn effecient for a homemade deal...we had a pre-warmer, two evaporator pans, and a raging fire...You can see that the sap is boiling away in the front pan.
Finally, here is a shot of a group of visitors learning about how to make maple syrup at our place last year. Erica is always encouraging folks to come by and visit or tour the farm. And I'm always looking to get some helpers in any and all farm tasks! We use an old-fashioned brace to drill the trees. That was a great Christmas gift that Erica was able to get for me at the livestock auction two years ago. Sure beats the cordless drill and most assuredly beats using five extension cords (did it the first year!). We have some "real" sap buckets, but never enough...so we supplement our sap collecting with 1 gallon jugs. It seems that most large producers have been switching over to tubing, so there are lots of used buckets to be had.
We'll give an update once Erica returns from New Hampshire with the new equipment. We've already decided on the location of the sugarhouse, for which I will "break ground" with an official ceremony of sorts as soon as the snow is gone this year. I hope to start framing it up over the summer and maybe use it next year. This year we will have to sugar outside again and cover the new gear with a tent to keep it dry and safe between sugaring sessions.
Posted by Chris
@ 05:00 PM EST