Thursday, April 7, 2011

Maple Lessons

It's been a banner year for syrup. 


If you remember our plan was to use this cute little number, that came as a package deal with the old farmhouse, to boil our sap with. I received lots of comments on just how pretty she is, and when I think about it, I have to agree. It wasn't lost on me, that perhaps this was too delicate an item to banish to a sugar shack. And apparently, she thought so too, because she refuses to bring anything near a boiling point, no matter how sorely she's tested. She's too well insulated for such tomfoolery but can you really blame her? Now I need to find a place to put her inside. Three wood stoves, am I crazy?
There was no way that the process was returning to the kitchen. So we had to get creative, again.
It's not the same as a wood fire, by any means, but it's getting the job done, for this year. And the Artist is now officially on the look out for a cheap, old cook stove to become the main fixture of the future sugar shack.

And if that wasn't enough to keep us hopping, the weather round these parts has been a fickle friend. We had a week of freezing weather, and the taps came to a stand still.
Then last week, perfect sap weather returned. By Thursday evening, the male twin and I were so busy running around emptying buckets two or three times a day, we forgot all about how sweet that icicle just might taste.
Or it might have been the fact that if we paused for too long, someone would nip us in the ankles. I had no idea I looked like a...sheep? I think she needs glasses.

Before we knew it, we had started to fill our second rain barrel and the Artist and I took shifts all night to keep the sap fires burning. And in case you're not sure what that means, I'll spell it out for you. We took turns getting up every two hours, heading outside and topping up the sap before it burns, going back to bed, and waking up every 10 minutes after that, afraid that we had overslept the alarm. The best part is, we'll probably do it again this weekend. Unless of course, you'd like to get in on the action? While we've pulled the spigots from the trees, we still have a lot of sap to boil down, and the clock is ticking; as the weather warms up it will begin to spoil.
 But the end result is always worth the effort.

~Happy Friday Friends!~


Laura said...

We've got a boiling going on right now, but these guys seem to have a system and it's a bit easier than it was in the beginning.
My husband built the sap boiler, actually two (a bigger one the second time).
We've got a lot of sap to boil down, but I think it's pretty much stopped running. Our taps are still in. They'll probably pull them this weekend. It's been a much better year than last year.

Laura said...

And good luck to you too! Happy boiling!! :-)

Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

Wish I was close by so I could wrangle myself a sample! I cannot imagine getting up all night to keep checking on it... don't ya sometimes wonder what in the world were we thinking???? It does look like the finished product is worth it.

Hopefully you'll be seeing all snow free days from here on out :)


Dawn said...

Oh MY~ it's like having a baby!
Just no diapers;)

TexWisGirl said...

ha ha (dawn)!

i'm sorry the cute little stove was not the fix you needed. i hope you find a good place for it. it's just precious!

pass the pancakes, please...

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

Great. Now I am hungry for pancakes!
Wish I were closer. I could be the taste-tester :) :) :)

Now, about that stove-it is adorable! Are you going to use it to decorate with or use it as an actual working stove? Me vintage mind wants to know!

I wrote a nice comment on previous post. Blogger ate it.
If you had only fed Blogger pancakes it would not have happened!
How do you say *sap* in french?
xo, misha

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

I see the willows in your header!
How about a picture of you and the family under them?

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

What a job, but so worth it!

MJ said...

Wow!! That is a labor of love I tell ya! I bet that syrup is delicious :). Hope you get to catch up on your sleep soon!

Judy said...

The end result is so worth the effort. We tapped trees for the first time and and loved it.

Nancy said...

Don't feel bad... we have four or five wood stoves that are not in use and need to be hauled out of the house. Maybe this summer?

Nothing as good as homemade maple syrup. :)

Deb said...

What dedication! Just think, it will be worth it all in the middle of winter when you're enjoying it.

Anke said...

Wish I lived closer - I would love to help and all you'd have to do is pay me in syrup. ;-)

JoLynne Lyon said...

How lucky! You can make your own syrup! And now I understand why real maple syrup is so expensive.

Lisa ~Suburban Retreat~ said...

EVERY TWO HOURS ~ Gosh ... the process is as delicate as nursing that first baby! Good luck this weekend and like any tedious task, it WILL be well worth it!

Unknown said...

This is so exciting! I've never really understood the process. What a joy, and what exhaustion for you all.
Thanks for rhe wonderful post.

Teresa said...

Love your creativity! I certainly hope you have a better solution for next year. That does sound like a lot of work, but it looks so yummy!

Unknown said...

It sounds like a lot of work, but I'm sure I can smell it from here! Hope you are enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine today.

Unknown said...

It sounds like a lot of work, but I'm sure I can smell it from here! Hope you are enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine today.

Jenny said...

Wow! Good luck! I admire your dedication!

crystal.cattle said...

I grew up in Canada, Alberta to be exact, and I love my Canadian maple syrup. All your work is definitely worth the end result. Good luck.

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Loved this post! Up checking n stoking the fire - sounds like real farm life to me! I really want to make my own syrup now thanks to you! Never liked syrup before and don't have any trees... Guess that might take a while! ;-)
Also will try your vinaigrette (and prolly more recipes as I catch up)! Hope your week's off to a great start!

Staci@LifeAtCobbleHillFarm said...

I can just smell it!! Every 2 hours huh? Yikes! It is so darn delicious though.

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

Oh, my. You must have been tired!
But, I know the results are worth it. YUM!
xo, misha

mountain mama said...

we have wood stove all over the place around here...even one from the little house on the prairie era.

i'm jealous of fresh syrup...yum!!

Buttons Thoughts said...

Looks delicious Andrea well worth the work. B