Steaming into the night
February 13, 2013, 10:24 pm
Filed under: February 2013 | Tags: ,
Monday night's boil

Monday night’s boil

February 13, 2013

Last Monday night I made the first boil of the season. The wind was whipping by the time I got fired up. It was hard to figure out which side of the cupola to open. I did finally get it right, but it was steamy for a while 😮

I didn’t make any syrup that night, but my pans did get sweet, so next time the syrup will come. It is very hectic in the sugarhouse. I have so many things to watch. I must keep an eye on all of the levels. There are several places to check and re-check. I need to not only watch the level in the pans, but the levels in the sap storage tanks as well.

I have to keep an eye on the increasing temperature of the syrup. I need to check The cooking sap with a hydrometer to see that the density is correct. I must keep an eye on the foam created by the boiling maple sap.I must feed the fire every seven minutes, first one side, then the other.

I probably look like a squrriel scampering from place to place. Ok , perhaps more like a bull in a china shop, but I’m moving, I’ll tell you that 😮 I must keep a close eye, because things could go bad quickly!

Once the sap level gets low and it’s time to stop for the night, it gets peaceful. The fire fades and the boiling stops. I sit in a chair for a while to make sure everything is okay. I draw off a pail of “almost” syrup to start the process the next time. The pail is covered and set up on the shelf to cool.

I next flood the pans with sap running an inch deeper than usual. This cushion will evaporate as the firebricks cool down. The fire gets pulled from the firebox, but the hot bricks will still produce heat for a while longer.

I sweep the floor and tidy up enjoying the quiet time. The smell of the cooking sap lingers in the room and in my nostrils. That sweet odor triggers memories from my grandparents sugarhouse decades ago. My mind goes back to that simpler time and I am reminded of my grandma and grandpa.

I remember an old car seat that graced the wall of their sugarhouse. A lantern hung in the corner and the small arch steamed away into the night. My grandparents would take turns cooking the sap, feeding the fire and catching short naps.

I find comfort in those memories. I expect this time of year will always be my most favorite. In fact I think I can call it “Sweet!”

2 Comments so far
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Comment by Carolyn Dice

Sweet! 🙂

Comment by Mindy

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