I declare the 2007 maple sugaring season (in my side yard) officially begun!
I didn’t do much last week during my week off from work, other than watch my oldest daughter who was also home on school vacation, but I did get ready to make some sweet sweet New England maple syrup. I’ve got all the equipment. I’ve done two seasons out of the last three. For both of those, I set up just inside the open bay of my garage. It worked fine, but a lot of the heat from the burners was wasted trying to heat that wide open space and I was never comfortable with the amount of steam I was throwing up into the garage attic. The solution? Just gimme some wood and I’ll build me a shanty.
Take three pallets for walls, one for a slanted roof and an old wooden ladder thrown in when you realize that three pallets for walls isn’t going to be big enough. Start by nailing it together because you forgot to charge the only battery for your cordless drill and are too lazy to drag an extension cord across the yard for the corded one and finish by covering it all in plastic sheeting. Voila! You’ve got my maple shack! It’s guaranteed to be questionable in high winds, very muddy when Spring finally gets here and completely transparent, so that I can catch those damned kids in the act. They’re always after my Lucky Charms. They’re bound to want my maple syrup!
Last night, around dusk, I tapped three of my ten trees, trying to remember the ones that had the best output two years ago. This evening, I gathered in about a gallon of sap and took and hour and a half to boil it down as much as I dared. I burned my last batch and ruined an enamel pot 3 years ago when I let it boil too long. I’m more careful these days. That, and I’ve already invested forty two bucks in propane alone on this project. If I’m gonna make my money back I’m gonna need to turn out at least a couple gallons of syrup. People like the syrup a lot more than crunchy maple carbon blob.