Thursday, March 10, 2011

Maple Syrup 201

I'm excited to tell you that it's that time of year again.

Time to play among the sugar maples and tap away.

 Last year was our first attempt at tapping our own trees and it was definitely a success.

Our crop was small; it wasn't the best year. Spring arrived early and things started heating up around here quickly and as the mercury rises the sap slows down.

Ideal conditions are day time temperatures hovering just above zero and night time temps dropping below zero. 

And, that would be Celsius, because if you haven't noticed, I'm in Canada, eh?

We still managed to fill 8 pint jars of the golden goodness and this year's forecast looks so promising we may just double that number, if not more. 
This year, we had to be conscious of where we placed our taps. So as not to over stress our trees, we 

wanted to  make sure we were at least a foot above or below last year's spot and had clearance of six inches

on either side. Some were easier to spot than others!
Because our trees aren't exactly close to a power source and 

because I like sticking it to the hydro company every chance I can get,

the Artist hand drilled the holes this year. It was easy-peasy, well, it looked like it anyway.
It was a lovely sunny afternoon on Sunday when we tapped and the sap was running fast. 

By the time we were finished hanging our buckets, all six of them, 

the first bucket had over a quarter inch collected.

We could hang more buckets, in case you wondering, 

they're big enough to hang three per tree and we didn't tap all of our sugar maples 

(although any maple will work, sugar is just the favoured one) 

but we also don't want to stress our trees. 

They're over a hundred years old and we'd like to keep them around for as long as possible. 

They don't make them like they used to, you know.

One thing we are doing differently, this year, is the sap to syrup process.

Last year it was done inside. 
This year it's an outdoor job. 

We had an epiphany one day, realizing that we had the perfect tool in the garage; this wood stove came with

the farmhouse but we had our own and it's been a dust collector ever since. 

Not any more, and if this venture is successful, the Artist hopes to find a permanent spot for this baby 

and build a little shack around it.

Our own sugar shack. 


Or would that be sweet?


 I'm linking up with Verde Farm for Farm Friend Friday!

 ~Happy Friday Friends~


TexWisGirl said...

Awesome! You and Judy at daily yarns n more are gonna be up to your ears in syrup!

Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

Your own sugar shack!! That would be so cool! I wish I was still "in the area" to see this all happen...


PS.. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that first picture, it is perfection.

Mary, Windy Meadows Farm said...

We love a slow Saturday morning when there's time for pancakes and syrup...making your own would be wonderful! What a great family adventure! -Mary

Laura said...

We make our own maple syrup too. It was a project that started about 5 or 6 years ago by my son and his friend (and the dads). Even though "the boys" (they're in their 20's now) have less of a part in it now, the dads still do it. I help out when needed. We have over 100 trees tapped, from what I've been told. I haven't bought store-bought syrup in over five years. Love the real stuff!

Buttons Thoughts said...

Canada eh? Me too. love this post Maple syrup yummy I like the old stove it should work well. B

Lisa ~Suburban Retreat~ said...

I absolutely LOVE maple syrup! I think that would be VERY cool to have your own sugar shack! Looks like so much fun for all of you to produce your own syrup!

Judy said...

I enjoyed your post...This year is our first year tapping trees. This year we plan to start making our own sugar shack and it probably will be a work in progress.

Deb said...

The stove is perfect. My friend always does hers outside. Yay for maple syrup!

Debbie said...

OK that is very cool.

Jill said...

Very interesting! We have a lot of maples here and I have always wondered about the process of making syrup. Found your blog through farm friend friday at Verde Farm.

Dandy said...

That is so awesome! I can't wait to share this.

I adore that stove, I've never seen anything like it

Ashley said...

How cool is this?? I'm so jealous. I can't wait to hear about the sap-to-syrup process. Enjoy!

Vintage Country Girl said...

How great to make your own. We have a local farmer who makes and sells his own syrup in our town. It's delish! My husband drinks it out of the container much to my shagrin!

Yum. Yum.

Wren said...

My dad has been out in the barn for a month boiling down syrup. Made a homemade boiler.. Been meaning to post about it. Best of luck to you. Wishing you a large stack of pancakes to go with your yield!!!

Teresa said...

How much fun is that! I find this really interesting because it's something I've no experience with. Thanks for sharing.

Verde Farm said...

Wow-that is awesome! I would love to try this with my maples. I think you’ve found a great use for that cool stove too. I bet the syrup will be delicious. Aweseome.
Thanks for sharing with FFF :)

Flat Creek Farm said...

OMGosh! Definitely on my wanna-do list!! And a sugar shack... perfect :) Thanks for sharing, and making us drool ;-p....

Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Oh Andrea how cool to have your own 'sugar shack'! I was born and mostly raised in Manitoba and had maples in the yard but never tried tapping them. I admire the way you respect your trees...they should be around for a good many more years with this kind of treatment. Mmmm pure home made maple lucky is that! Do you pour it over snow on a cold day? We can buy real maple syrup down here but it's expensive so when we go to BC I usually get some. I'm sure it's not as good as 'home grown' though. You'll have to show us some of your baking when you use your syrup...that would be a great post if you haven't already done one like it. Anyway...enjoy your weekend.
Maura :)

Jenny said...

Wow. This is something I'd love to experience someday!