Saturday, March 6, 2010

Maple Syrup


Saturday was a beautiful day to be outside and boil sap. The temperature was in the mid-forties (F) and the sky was as blue as it could be. I put together a little outdoor sugar shack and boiled the ten gallons of sap I had collected last week.


First, I collected a good supply of firewood. Next, I took my bonfire ring and put it on the gravel driveway and set up some concrete blocks to make an outdoor stove. I have several sturdy grill tops that I set across the fire pit and put my trays of sap on them so the fire could get to work boiling away the sap.


And the sap cook looked upon what he had wrought and said, "it is good enough."



Now all I had to do was tend the fire, keep adding sap, and wait.


And wait...
And wait...


And wait...


(March is "Reading Month" and I got in several hours of reading Sherlock Holmes)



Ahhhh, but this is definitely worth the wait. I ended up with about 7 cups of pure maple syrup. I expected it to be a little darker, but I do like the nice light amber color. Depending on the sap flow, I will be out there for the next two Saturday mornings boiling and reading.


Come on over, and let's have a little book club while we watch the sap boil.



43 comments:

julie king said...

it is a surprising light but lovely color. every task is easier when accompanied by a good book. i haven't read holmes in decades. i feel a trip to b&n coming on.

enjoy your sunday!

*jean* said...

oo i can smell it from here! what a way to spend the day!!

Don said...

julie: I too am surprised by the light color. I haven't paid much attention to whaat the colors mean, but I do know syrup is graded by color and flavor. I am enjoying Holmes and Watson.

Don said...

jean: it was a great morning outside with the fire and the boiling and the book. I highly recommend it!

laura said...

Congratulations on your yield, Don. In VT I was told the wetter the winter (and this was a wet one), the more boiling ...
I didn't know March was reading month!! (I should know that.) I better get busy finishing all the books I've started.

Don said...

laura: I guess the moisture levels would impact the amount of water a tree is carrying. I just boil it until it is the right temperature!

You had better get a move on with those books!! However, it is the quality of our comprehension and the level of "self to text" interaction that is most important!!!

freefalling said...

Congratulations to you!
How exciting to have your very own maple syrup.
I don't think we have many maple trees in Australia.
Very soon you will be totally self-sufficient.
I'm looking forward to when you make your own electricity!

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Wow! That is pretty impressive.
For some reason I am so envious of a smoking fire with Maple boiling away and me reading in the chilly coldness,May have something to do with no noisy kids! Ha,ha,ha....
Pancakes would have to be on the menu soon.
Well done Don awesome effort!

Don said...

freefalling: I believe Maples are a northern north american phenomenon. you must have interesting aussie things that we don't have here!

Don said...

cupcake: i can relate to the noisy kids part, (being a third grade teacher)

we did the pancake bit this morning, and it was quite good, maybe even perfect!!

Eliane said...

Particularly love the picture of you reading and the maple syrup and the fire.

Don said...

Eliane: that just about sums up making maple syrup!

Anonymous said...

Wood smoke and boiling maple syrup on a cold sunny morning. What a treat for the senses. I love your syrup bottles.

Sandy said...

Ohhh I love this post and tell Ruth these photos of the bottles are beautiful and also enjoyed the one of you sitting there and reading with the snow around you. I could almost smell your "winter" there with the smell of the sap and firewod.

I have been enjoying out here, the smell of "green". It is amazing how green things smell as I'm traveling in different areas on foot.

I guess colors do have a smell.

I think I'll go make me some french toast and pour some store bought maple syrup on them...not quite the same but it will have to do.

Loring Wirbel said...

This blog just keeps getting sappier. Yum!

Don said...

anon: You know, there is something about having an outdoor fire that we are all a couple of generations away from that makes it a very nostalgic experience, like we are missing something and we don't know it until we see it, or smell it.

Don said...

sandy: green is good! I am getting impatient for spring to arrive this year. It must have something to do with getting ready to plant veggies and stuff! Your walks sound so nice. We all need to get out there!

French toast is always a good thing

Don said...

Loring: sappier and full of chicken s&#%!

warren said...

I'll be reading as mine is cooking too! Your light amber is nice!

Ruth said...

This still makes me giggle. You out there reading. It sure was nice, wasn't it? And all that steam to keep you warm.

Ginnie said...

Ohhhh, I love it, Don. I can just see Ruthie out there taking these pictures. And I can just imagine how good it tastes, knowing it came from your all your hard work. Congratulations!

Don said...

warren:nothing like a good excuse to get in some good reading!

Don said...

ruth: it's nice to have a live-in photographer to capture all the action!

Don said...

ginnie: it's hard to mess up maple syrup! I guess I could fall asleep and let it burn. You give me lots of credit with your "all your hard work" statement! I guess I did cut and split firewood, lug buckets of sap, make lunch over an open fire...

lesleyanne said...

it looks oh so delicious, especially in the most amazingly cute bottles! how much for one of those bottles filled with yummy green barn syrup? i would like to place an order.

(psssst...i was on the phone with mom when she took that photo of you reading sherlock holmes!)

i love your make shift sugar shack, it is the ultimate green barn setup! and the orange hat is the best. the BEST!

Don said...

lesleyanne: i better save some syrup for you! Maybe I'll send you a little package!!!?

I wear the orange hat for two reasons, 1) it's on top of the hat pile and it's warm, 2) i don't have any other hat

Bob Johnson said...

Don...you are too cool! Reading while making Maple Syrup, life is good.

Don said...

bob: it is a little harder for you to read while pursuing the moon. you could try to read by moonlight!

Caribou said...

Because I enjoy your blog so much, you have been awarded a Kreativ Blogging Award. Check it out:
http://caribou-ificandoitmyself.blogspot.com/2010/03/kreativ-blogging-award.html
Carolyn

Paige said...

Don:

That calls for whole wheat blueberry pancakes. The syrup looks delicious. My daughter and I were talking about how cute the leaf bottles were too!

Don said...

Carolyn: Thank you for your kind words and the nice award! I like your blog Too!!!

Don said...

paige: my syrup would go very well with your pancakes! I was so happy to find those bottles, they are really cute!

Carol said...

An interesting series...well done..wish I could try some...

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

Porch Days said...

I enjoyed your whole story about making maple sugar. Nice that you had a chance to relax and read.

Vickie said...

Hello Don - thanks for your visit AND for the instruction on making syrup. It looks delicious. We can't get much down here in Texas and when we can buy it, it's very expensive. Looks time consuming, but also relaxing and SO very rewarding!

Country Girl said...

Nice pics Ruth. Love the bottles, where did you get them? I find our sap darkens the more I boil it down. As it thickens it darkens. Not sure if that is the case where you are.

Don said...

carol: thanks for stopping by! it is quite tasty

Don said...

porch days: it's always nice to have an excuse to sit and read!

Don said...

vickie:i guess maple syrup is a northern experience. we can thank the native americans and the new england yankees for the tradition

Don said...

country girl: the syrup i put into a water bath got a lot darker, so I think it is true for mine as well. my second batch got darker than the first.
here is a web site for the place I got my bottles:

http://sugarbushsupplies.com/

脣形 said...

GOOD........................................

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

I so love the bottles you used. I pulled my taps a week ago due to the warmer weather.I had fly's all over the containers and in them plus they were turning an off color due to the heat. And of course NOW we get a cold freeze. Wonder if I can put the taps back in...
Beautiful job! And thank you for sharing the link to your bottle resource. I may just order a small amount for the next time I get to do mapling.

Don said...

unusual: I have had the same issues with my taps. I cleaned the buckets all out and was ready to call it a season, when the cold snap hit and the sap started running again. One of my buckets has a line of ants stealing my sap, so I guess I'll just let them have their way. I don't think I am in the mood to be spraying any chemicals near my maple sap!