Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Sap Season

Rowdy and GroverCarter spent all day Monday up at the pond keeping me company while I boiled the first maple sap of 2013.
On Friday I scrubbed buckets.  Lots of buckets, but as it turned out, not enough buckets.  We never have enough buckets.

Most of those are 3 1/2 gallon buckets and they come with nice tight fitting lids.  Excellent for many uses, especially sap collection.

Saturday was cold, but fairly sunny, and Sunday was forecast to be much warmer.  So Sam and the dogs and I went up by the pond where we have a lot of sugar maples and we set 28 taps.

setting taps

In bigger trees, we will set 2 taps and run both lines into one bucket.  When the sap is running really well, you can get 2 gallons per tap in a 24 hour period, so the buckets need to be checked daily.


For optimal sap run, days should be above freezing and hopefully sunny while nights need to dip below freezing.  

tree with 2 taps going into 1 bucket
Sunday was clear and sunny for the most part.  At about 4:30, I went to collect sap and haul it down to the evaporator to boil off the next day.  I ran out of buckets.  I had 7 empty buckets and I filled them all. We also have 2 stainless steel milk cans, but I had not yet cleaned those out.  So in the morning on Monday, as soon as I got the evaporator going and emptied 2 buckets into the pans, I collected 2 1/2 more buckets of sap plus a milk can full.  So I had approximately 40 gallons of sap to cook off.  It was warm, around 50 degrees and very sunny but incredibly windy.  Wow was it windy!  I did a lot of Sudoku puzzles and quite a bit of knitting on my shawl.  Wood has to be added to the fire every 20 minutes or so and the sap pans have to be kept full as well until all the sap has been emptied into the pans, so it is a full time occupation.  I started the fire at 8:40 am and got back to the house to finish the syrup on the stove at about 6:30.  Long day.  But I have 3 1/2 quarts of 100% maple syrup to show for it.

 As I said, it was very windy Monday and I did not even want to go into the woods, the trees were moving so much.  Here is a huge limb from one of the maple trees in our yard that came down during the day.  It is so far into the ground that I was unable to pull it out!  It looks like a fence post.  The rest of the limb is in pieces on the ground to the right.  I'm glad I was not under that when it came down.

With the warm weather, all that snow that was on the ground is gone and there is lots of mud to deal with.  The road up to the pond is a rutted muddy mess.  I really wish I had snapped a photo of Grover after he followed the 4-wheeler up the road.  I had to put both dogs in the tub Monday night and rinse the mud off them.  I was too tired to give them a full bath, so it was just a warm water rinse.

Last week I had finished a hat for my son, Ian.  It has been mailed off to him and here it is on me:

 He wanted it in the Oregon State colors, so I dyed up some handspun alpaca/wool yarn I had in my stash and kind of made up a slouchy stripey pattern.  I hope he likes it. He should receive it soon.

Today I leave for a trip to Florida.  Yikes!  I feel bad leaving Sam with so much to do.  But he is pretty capable and will do fine.  I am all packed and will leave from work to drive to my brother's in western Ohio.  Then bright and early his wife, my sister-in-law Jill, and I will hit the road tomorrow morning.  We will drive to Manasota Key where my mother and her sister have again rented a house for the month of February and meet them and my cousin, Tracey, there for a long girls' weekend.  Should be a lot of fun!


  1. I like the hat and Ian will too. I am trying to figure out how you got the three images in the picture. Did you take it into one looking glass. How did you do it without any flash spot in the picture?
    Have a safe trip and a good time. Love you.

  2. Sorry Mary, just saw this. I have doors on my medicine cabinet that open into a 3-way mirror. Did not use a flash. It turned out kinda fun, didn't it?