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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Syrup Season

Long before the sweet reward or maple syrup can be enjoyed there is alot if work and sweat and more work. Our trees are spread across a pretty step hillside and to each of the 75 or so trees a bucket containing a hose, tap and lid must be carried.
Each tree is then measured to determine if it is large enough to be tapped and if more than one tap can be installed. On average you should get one quart of finished syrup per tap installed. I'm aiming for 90 taps this year.
After the tree is measured it is drilled and tapped, hoses route the sap from the tap to the bucket. As syrup season progresses sap will be picked up every day and on average each bucket will be more than half full, that is close to 300 gallons of sap per day! I hope. It takes 40 to 50 gallons of sap to make each gallon of syrup and at best we can boil off 20 gallons of sap per hour. So that leaves roughly 15 hours of boiling each day and then it has to be finished inside and on the stove.
We pick up our first load of sap tonight. I'm not expecting much as the trees and the ground are still thawing. But by next week we should be up to full production. Ideally the overnight lows should be below freezing and daytime highs in the 40s. The ten day looks good and we are praying for a good syrup season.


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