Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012 Maple Season recap

About this time every year as summer wears on I get tired of mosquitoes swarming my head, poison ivy,  and crabgrass. My thoughts start wandering towards the maple seasons past and future.

Recently I read a census about the 2012 maple season in the US and Canada and overall it wasn't pretty. Almost every producer and region was way down in production primarily due to the historically warm March.  The sap was flowing like crazy but the buds were swelling just as fast  and that it put an abrupt end to season.

The fact that we had no snow cover meant tending to the weekly inferno which burned beneath the sap pans a special concern. I kept water buckets and a hose at my side during the entire season.

Thanks to the great group of online syrup producers at I was alerted to the very early sap flow in late January. With my operation being so small I was prepared and tapped the last weekend in January. Sure as shootin' the sap was flowing eagerly and I gathered and boiled  5 separate batches totaling maybe 3.5 - 4 gallons for the season.

Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Maple Season

2012 Sugaring season is upon us. Matter of fact it's arrival has come historically early this year and caught many off guard. I feel that we're all still waiting for winter like we're use to. And it's just not right to tap trees around here in January. Well you've missed out on the several weeks if you're not in yet so get tapping!

I scaled back my already rinky dink operation after being beat up from last year. Earlier this month when I was collecting sap a co-worker said to me "last year I thought you said you're never doing this again!" Well there is something special with this labor of love. Don't know if it's being outside early in the morning and in the evening or is it seeing wildlife while you catch a moment sitting between splitting wood, adding wood to your fire, ladleling, filtering, ect. Maybe its seeing the sweets of your labor being poured by friends and family over some Vanilla Ice Cream. Yeah, maybe that's it. Whatever draws me to it I keep coming back for more.

My trees were tapped by January 28th and the sap was immediately flowing. With the evaporator tweaked and fine tuned, she burns beautifully and boils down between 8-9 gallons per hour which is pretty good for a steam pan set up.

As of February 21st my third boil  is under my belt (and on the floor, on my hands) and to date the trees have been pretty generous for me. But others tell a different tale. Many are saying this year is a horrible season with little sap and low percentage of sugar. You all have heard the 40:1 ratio well its more like 50-70:1 That means a whole lot longer to boil and a whole lot of wood being burned. The trees I tap are for the most part large sugar maples and they are in line with the usual output.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here and Gone

The 2011 is gone. It was a very generous season here in CT. I started to tap on Feb 12 and finished in late March mainly because of exhaustion. The season warmed up a bit and shut the trees down but went back to producing sap shortly thereafter.

Along with the syrup, this is my second season making the oh so addicting Maple Coated Pecans and Peanuts and they are simply amazingly delicious.

Below are a few photos of this season.

  Spiles all sterilized and ready to go!

A couple of buckets across the street from my house. I had about 25 tapped out behind the pond.

  Night time boil midweek.

One of several weekend boils.

 Front pan getting close

 Sampling of the "goods"