RicelandMeadows


Maple Season 2019

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February 27, 2019

What a cold, ice filled, crazy season it has been so far! A nice run came in the midst of some very high winds. The high winds prompted the temperature dropping into the 20 degree F range. We scrambled to get everything gathered, but the high winds prevented us from entering the woods.

The next day, bags were frozen. We had to break the ice with a quick chop of our fists to the corner of the bag. Then we could dump the sap out. The ice was then crushed and dumped onto the ground. The temperature stayed cold, so any moving of maple sap meant ice and slippery conditions, frozen pipes and much frustration.

Finally, last night, after a day filled with a few more problems, we got things thawed and flowing. We lit the first fire of the season in the maple arch and boiled way into the night. At 2:30 am this morning, I closed the door to the sugarhouse, made my way to a warm home, hot shower and a warm bed.

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We filled the cold room with steam in no time. Even after several hours of boiling, we could still see our breath inside the sugarhouse. These are much colder conditions than normal.

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Even the floodlights had a rough time shining through the steam.

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The good news is that the boiling went well. The pans are sweet, having reduced the sweet, tree given, confection closer to the 66.5 brix needed to become maple syrup.

The weatherman, hopeful for spring, rushed us a bit, thinking that warmer weather was upon us. Alas, we got caught in the cold. A slight warm-up may be coming for late this week, but more very cold weather is to follow. The rise and fall of the spring thermometer indicates the sap flow as the trees prepare for spring. We will deal with the season as always, but will enjoy a return to “normal”, whatever that means!



Destruction begets Construction
June 18, 2015, 9:41 pm
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
The old tanks are out

The old tanks are out

June 18, 2015

The rain won’t stop, so just like when life gives you lemons and you make lemonade, I am working on projects where the rain won’t matter. My new tank will be manufactured by the first of October. I want the sugarhouse addition to be completed before the tank is ready. I want to bring it home and slide it right into place. The addition will accommodate the tank with just a little room for storage.

The addition will resemble a mezzanine. A small porch like structure, built up in the air, allowing gravity to feed maple sap to my evaporator. The new addition and tank will make it much easier for cleaning. In any part of the food industry, clean up is the most important job. Making this job easier is a wonderful thing!

The construction project will take a few days, but having it completed before haying season fills my schedule from daylight to dark, is pleasing. I have enlisted the help of my friend Marvin. He and I share work. We trade labor for labor. It is a good system that costs us nothing and cements a longtime friendship. His concerns become my concerns and visa-versa. We share work, wisdom and fellowship as we work out projects and problems.

It is bittersweet to rip part of my sugarhouse apart. I like this little building and it has served me well. I see this new addition as a very important part of our operation. We need the storage space as our maple syrup operation grows. The move to a one tank system will make my sap boiling job much easier and less stressful. Currently, I to have to keep an eye on tank levels and transfer when needed. That has to be done in-between loading the firebox, drawing off syrup and keeping a watchful eye on the boiling liquid….trust me when I say this new project will ease my burden significantly.