Maple Sugarin’ – The First Few Days

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The first day of collecting sap was super successful. In the picture above you might notice that there is a ton of sap that dripped out onto the tree. I had so much sap coming out of the taps the first day that it completely overflowed from my little gallon jugs. I got 5 gallons worth overnight, and then another 5 gallons during the day!

That’s me in my “maple sugaring” outfit by the way. I got those awesome purple suspenders for Christmas from my parents and this is the first chance I’ve really gotten to wear them. My husband thinks I’m a dork but I don’t care. I love it!

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We still had snow earlier this week so I used a natural refrigeration method to keep my sap cool. I did set two aside to put in the freezer, so that I would have “ice” to put into an actual cooler once the snow melted. We packed the snow down really tight around the jugs of sap and it has managed to stay cold and unmelted for a few days!

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Here is my husband helping me to pack down the snow around the jugs.

The second and third day were not quite as successful. The second morning I found that not a lot of sap dripped overnight. We also found a bunch of ants in one of the jugs. I ended up dumping out that sap into my garden and starting over fresh. This happened a couple more times over the last few days. It was kind of a downer. Here are the breakdowns of the amount of sap I gathered so far.

  • Morning 1: 5 gallons sap
  • Evening 1: 5 gallons sap
  • Morning 2: 1.5 gallons sap
  • Evening 2: 3 gallons sap
  • Morning 3: 1.5 gallons sap
  • Evening 3: 2.5 gallons sap

I’m not sure why it dropped off so much after the first two collections. I know that I would have gathered a lot more sap that first day if I had used larger buckets. The sap was all over the place. I wonder if it’s because the sap had been pretty well drained out the first day?

Maybe it is because the weather warmed up considerably this week? I know that it needs to be cold at night in order for the sap to run well during the day. It hasn’t been getting very cold at night. I wonder if I had started a few days earlier when the weather was still cold, if I would have gathered a lot more.

Certain trees also did better than others. The two smaller trunked trees did very well. Both trees were fairly straight and healthy. I made sure to tap the trees above a root or under a large tree branch. My third tree is a lot larger around and doesn’t look quite as healthy. The tree leans over toward the south a lot more. The tap that is on the south side and on the “underside” of the lean collected a considerable amount more of sap. The other side of the tree is on the “top side” of the lean and is also on the north side of the tree. This jug was filled less than half each time.

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My family was excited to help me with the maple sugaring project. My daughter is at such an impressionable age, I love exposing her to self-reliance skills. 

The next step is to work on boiling down what I’ve collected so far. I borrowed an outdoor turkey deep fryer from a family member to save on costs this year. If I had purchased one myself I would have spent between $50-$100. Although we probably would have used a turkey deep fryer for a different occasion, even if I didn’t use it for maple syrup again, I didn’t want to make the commitment at this point. If my project goes well this year then I will consider investing in more infrastructure for next year.

I did start trying to boil down the sap this evening, but it was 6pm before I was able to get started. By 7pm, the sap had finally just started boiling, but I decided to call it quits for the night so I could come in and do some chores and homework for my graduate class. Tomorrow I plan to get up early to get started on boiling. It is supposed to be nice-ish tomorrow. My hope is to get enough of the evaporation done tomorrow so that if I need to boil indoors on Sunday, I won’t have too much to do.

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Turkey deep fryer set-up.

 

 

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