Maple Season 2018
February 25, 2018, 8:47 pm
Filed under: February 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,


February 25, 2018

This year’s season started off in a BIG way! We tapped a week ago today. The ground was slightly frozen and a little snow covered the ground. It was like a picture from a New England farm scene. We laughed and worked and had the tapping job done in no time. The sap started to drip by late afternoon.

On the next day, Monday, we installed the unloading pipe for the new tank. It was raining steady. We waited as long as we dared, but finally had to work in the rain. We got soaked to the skin, but before dark, the pipe was set and the sugarhouse was mostly ready.


The new tank receives the raw sap. The sap coming into the tank gets filtered as it fills the tank. The sap gets filtered again as it pumps inside to the big tank that feeds the stainless steel evaporator.

Now that the new tank is in place and working well, we will make a more permanent unloading pipe support structure. I guess that will be an upcoming project, because for now, this works very well….and there is no time for any other projects!


We started collecting sap late in the day Monday and finished after dark. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we gathered sap and boiled until after midnight. Those were some very long days. Friday and even into Saturday we boiled to empty all the fresh maple sap in the tanks. I went through a lot of wood. Thankfully, the sap had quit running by Thursday afternoon … so, for now we are caught up. Tomorrow I will do some additional cleaning to make ready for the next sap flow.

The maple season, just like making hay, is 100% dependent upon Mother nature. We need cold nights and warm days to make the maple trees drip sap. I am very glad that she gave me a rest today. I think the horses are too. We are now pretty much in the swing of this spring dance, called maple syrup season. The steps are not new. When the sap runs, the maple syrup producer does too!

So You Want to be a Maple Syrup Maker
Start up

Start up

March 20, 2015

If it’s your plan to make maple syrup, the thing you will need the most of is… PATIENCE!

First you wait on the season to get here. Then you wait for the sap to start running. Then you wait for the bags to fill. Once they are full, you wait for help to empty them all. Then the boiling process starts. You wait for the sap to boil. You then wait for the pans to get concentrated. A process called “getting the pans sweet”. Then you watch the thermometer and hydrometer as you wait for the first syrup.

We finally made some today….and it was worth the wait! The trees are dripping pretty good this afternoon. We should have a good weekend as long as we can wait 😮

Talk About a Tank!


reworked sap hauling tank

reworked sap hauling tank

February 12, 2015

What you are looking at, is the result of many drawings, much thought and lots of steel. I wanted to make the tank so it would slide on runners when the woods were soft, yet still roll down the road when needed. I wanted it to be more user friendly, hence the ladder. I wanted it to be safer for my grandchildren, so it has a platform and a safety rail.

A couple of years ago, I made a mess of our trails from using this tank and our tractor to gather sap. We were left with rutted up roads and trails. I am hoping that once the tires start to sink, it will slide on the steel runners. The horses will pull this instead of the sled and tank we normally use…at least I hope it works out that way,  😮

When we used this trailer in the past, we had to jump up on a small step. My jumping up days are pretty much behind me. Even the young guys didn’t like it by the end of the job. I am hoping the ladder and handrail makes this thing much easier to use. It holds 300 gallons of sap, 90 more than the sled and tank.

I will use three horses to pull it I think, not because I need that much horsepower, but because I can’t stand the sound of my third horse whinnying from the barn. It will also get all three horses ready for spring plowing. Work hardened horses ready for spring work, makes me thankful..in fact I will say… “Tanks a lot!”

 Ain't she a beaut?!

Ain’t she a beaut?!

Identity Crisis
March 30, 2014, 10:39 am
Filed under: March 2014 | Tags: , , ,
Washed and Labeled

Washed and Labled

March 30, 2014

Once our syrup has been canned, it comes into the house to be washed and labeled. Usually, we do this in small batches and it’s no big deal. This last week, has been full of other work, so the labeling got put off. My dear wife spent quite a bit of time on this job, that plugged our kitchen clear full!

The syrup containers get wiped down to ensure that any place where I slopped, is neat and clean. The next thing to go on is our maple syrup label, identifying our farm. It seems like no job at all untill your back is breaking from the tedious work.

I boiled a nice run yesterday and the sun is making the trees drip again today. It looks like a big day of boiling coming up on Tuesday. I am hoping for one more day after that, but the weather is looking like we are near the end. Once the trees warm and the sap travels up to the buds, we are done.

The syrup made once the tress have budded has a strong off flavor. It works well for animal feed or pipe tobacco but not so well on pancakes. In fact the stuff tastes like medicine to me! So, for us, it’s only the good stuff…thank you very much!

The syrup in the photo above has been divided into orders. Some of it has been delivered. Some of it waits for pick up, but all of it has moved from the kitchen counters…much to the delight of my dear wife 😮

Gathering Maple Sap
January 21, 2013, 1:00 pm
Filed under: January 2013 | Tags: , ,
Sugar maple waiting on Spring

Sugar maple waiting on Spring

January 21, 2013

In just a few weeks we will be tapping trees such as this one. The trees will give up some of their sweet sap, which will become maple syrup after it is reduced down by boiling. A tree this size will have three spiles driven into it. Three is the maximum number you should use. The idea is for maple syrup production to be sustainable. Using three taps on large trees, will still leave plenty of the sap for the tree itself.

We tap many trees that only get one spile per tree. This year we plan to tap between 1000 and 950, about double from last year. The sap roads are in place. The spiles and bags are ready to go. The horses have been working, getting ready for the upcoming work.

One of my BLOG readers asked for more detail about my sap gathering sled. I searched my photos from last year and could not find a photo of my sled and tank. The equipment is stored away in my “delightful, camoflauged semi-trailer”. A winter storm is bearing down on us, so I will leave it stored until this coming weekend. I will get photos and do an article strictly on the method I use to gather the sap.

Today, we are moving round bales, cleaning stalls and getting ready for the big snow storm and bitter cold that is about to descend upon us. It is a wonderful thing, the cold. It will hopefully make for a wonderful maple syrup season. It is hard to project, but so far it looks good. Very soon we will be gathering sap 😮