Sara asked me this morning if there was anything she could do to help with the maple syrup production. “I’m home in the afternoon between runs, and I’m home in the evenings before you are. I could start the boiling…”
“Well, I… sure sure you can do that but… it’s just that I’m trying to be real careful about…”
“How about you just show me how you want it done when you get home?”
“Yeah, sure. Yeah. We’ll do that.”
So after I got home from doing the grocery shopping (That’s right. I do the grocery shopping. I make the shopping list too. What? What? You want some of this?) I took Sara down to the shack (there’s a horror movie plot half written) and filled her in on how it’s done.”
“Okay. Use this bucket here to bring sap from the collection barrel into the shack. I’m trying to be better this year about recording how much sap I’m boiling so be sure to use the gallon measurements on the side of the bucket to keep track of how much sap you’re boiling. Very important. Don’t forget.”
“Write it down.”
“I won’t forget.”
“Right. So. You can use this thing here…”
“Yes, it used to be a blender, but now it’s what I’m using to scoop sap out of the collection barrel. When the bucket is full, write down…”
“…how much you’ve collected and screw the lid on so nothing spills and nothing else falls into your sap. Then make sure the barrel lid is snapped back on as well. And on to the shack. Walk (this Young Frankenstein here) this way.
So, lighting the burners. Each burner has two shut off valves – at the tank and on the hose. Turn the tank on first, stick you wand lighter on the burner and then slowly turn on the hose valve. Once it’s lit adjust the flame until it just starts to roar. Any more is overkill, any less and you won’t get a good rolling boil. Don’t fill the pots more than halfway cuz they’re likely to boil over. Um… check everything about once every half hour. That’s about it.
“So you want me to measure and boil water.”
“When you say it like that it hardly makes the result sound like it’s worth nine dollars a pint. But yes.”