Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A fun afternoon of Maple sap collecting

This afternoon we went over to my parents and had a lot of fun helping to gather the maple sap. They had tapped quite a number of trees this year and we are planning on helping with the making of it as much as possible as they share the bounty with us. Sap collecting is something I remember very fondly from childhood. The sap starts running when the days are getting warmer and you just feel like getting outside. The woods are so beautiful with snow here and there and much of it melting as the season goes on. It is also fun to tend the wood fire that we boil down the sap over. I thought I would share some of the pictures with you. Above Mara is pouring the sap from the bucket that we attached to the tree to the one we were collecting in. Sap looks pretty much like water but Mara tasted it and said it was quite yummy.
Here are Dad and Jonathan with some full buckets.
This is their collecting system. PVC taps in the tree and the tubing going down into little holes in the 5 gallon bucket lid. Growing up we used milk jugs but this system works a lot better. Dad was able to collect all the buckets for free from area restaurants.

This is the boiling down spot. Dad welded a large tank/pan to put the sap in (it takes around 30 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup). This pan will hold around 25 gallons. Underneath is a barrel wood stove which we make a fire in so that we can boil the sap down. At some point you need to strain it as well because sometimes things that you don't want in your pancakes will get in the sap.

Here is Jonathan with Grandpa and Grandma. He was totally thrilled with collecting sap. He would get all excited when he would find an extra full bucket.

While we were there we also got to see some of the new baby goats. This is Lola. (Actually Little Lola licked a Lollipop ~ named by my 3 year old niece)

Here is Megan enjoying time with the kitty.


miranda said...

wow, that is very fun. I think I would have enjoyed doing something like that too. How much Syrup do you think you got from all of the sap?

Betsy Cradic said...

That looks like a lot of fun! Winn would enjoy doing that. I would enjoy eating the syrup! Gotta have real maple syrup--none of that fake stuff for me!

Nadine said...

Finally decided to write back to you..thank for your great site.
Originally I am from Ontario,Canada, I miss those days of making maple syrup...
Now living in the city in Alberta this is not an option...
Thank God my father always bring me some maple syrup from Quebec..
Yummy stuff

Melissa said...

You guys have better quality sap then we do. It takes us 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon syrup. How do you test your syrup to know that it is at the right point. We collect our sap in a very similar way to what you guys do. We have about 350 taps out this year. We would have had 500 or more but we had to much snow to be able to get to all of the trees.

Abbi said...

It is very fun! Thanks to all of you for commenting.
Melissa, we might not make our syrup as thick as you do. My parents don't sell there syrup just share it with us kids and we don't think we need it as thick as what is usually done commercially. We just test to see if it is done by tasting it.
I am impressed with all the trees you all do. That sounds neat but must be nearly a full time job!

Melissa said...

During those few weeks Bruce is not home much. He does most of the work. His Dad helps a bit and I help with the bottling and putting the lableing on the jugs. Our stove use to be an old oil drum but it rusted out. Bruce bought a new stove this year and he loves how will it works. The pan is stainless steal and it just sits on top of the stove. Bruce use to give most of it away. We are hoping we can make some of money back that we have put into it.


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