From Sap To Syrup

Today was my first full day of boiling sap. It is now the end of the day, and I’m not even close to having a manageable amount of sap.

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8:00 AM on a Saturday. Started evaporating sap nice and early. 

I stared boiling around 8:00 AM this morning. It took about 2 hours for the sap to even start boiling. I used a large turkey fryer to accomplish this task. My first mistake was not getting up earlier to start the boiling. I lost two perfectly good hours of daylight and warmth waiting for the sap to get hot enough to boil. My second mistake was not turning up the gas higher in the beginning. Even when it finally reached a boil around 10:00 AM, the boil was not consistent.

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Cee and I ate breakfast in the garage this morning so we could keep an eye on the boiling sap, and because it was a gorgeous, warm February morning. No reason not to spend as much time outside as possible. 

I boiled. And boiled. And boiled. And boiled. And boiled…..

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According to the thermometer, almost to boiling temperature. The thermometer was hanging out at the top of the sap level, so it wasn’t an entirely accurate reading. It was boiling at the bottom closer to the heat source where it was probably a lot hotter than 175 degrees. 

Around 2:00 PM the sap had gone down several inches – maybe 5 inches. I added two more gallons of sap into the five I was already boiling down, and then I turned up the gas to make it hotter. At that point it finally started having a consistent boil.

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Steam is finally evaporating off! 

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We kept checking it every 10-15 minutes, but for the most part we kept ourselves busy outside for most of the day.

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We hung out in the garage and talked, read books and watched the clouds flow by. 

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Time for lunch! Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, strawberry apple sauce and milk. 

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We played corn hole for a little bit to pass the time. 

By about 4:00 PM the sap had gone down about another 2 inches. It didn’t seem like a lot and my goal was to boil until around 8:00 PM so that I would have a good 12 hours into the process. Nature did not work out in my favor this afternoon, though. Clouds had threatened rain all day and there had been a few sprinkles here and there. At about 4:30 PM though, the clouds got very dark and it actually rained. Cee and I sat in the garage for a bit watching the rain, but then a cold front went through and within a matter of 10 minutes it went from 65 degrees to about 40 degrees. I couldn’t believe how quickly it changed. I took Cee inside to get warm and the second we stepped inside, it started pouring rain like buckets. I tried to wait it out, but after ten minutes it was not letting up. At 4:45 I officially called it quits for the day. The wind had picked up considerably and the rain was causing water to pool everywhere. No sooner did I pack up the turkey fryer and put everything in the garage and get back inside the house, it started thundering and lighting!

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Getting caught in the rain. Very, cold, freezing rain. 

Now it is 7:30 PM and I am toasty warm in the house, and it is 32 degrees outside and we have almost 2 inches of snow already. I don’t know how the weather managed to change so much in one day! I have so much sap left to boil, I have no idea how I am going to get it down to a manageable level this weekend. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow is at least dry, even if it isn’t going to be warm, so that I can get the boiling process started again!

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