Monday, March 22, 2010

Project Maple II

Readers responded positively to my first Maple Report, so here's an update:

We boiled off another two batches of sap - last Tuesday, and Sunday.  It's been too warm here, which is bad for the sap run, but there is potential for some below freezing temps at the end of this week, and hopefully one more batch of sap.   The problem is that weather isn't the only factor - as the season progresses and the trees mature, the sap's flavor changes, and eventually gets "buddy" as the trees begin to bloom.   Our second and third batches of sap were definitely darker than our first batch, but still probably in the "fancy" grade of syrup.  We managed to solve our sugar sand problem in batch #2 by taking our time with the filtering process - repeatedly stopping to wash off the filter.  Strangely, though, we repeated the same process for batch #3, and the sugar sand somehow ended up in our bottles again.

Of course, I've kept detailed records of our sap collection and syrup production.  Check these numbers:

Boil Date       Sap Collected       Syrup Produced       Ratio
3/7/10            37.5 gallons         1.1 gallons                 2.93%
3/16/10          41 gallons            1.1 gallons                 2.68%
3/20/10          14 gallons            1/4 gallon                  1.79%

Notice how fast the syrup ratio is dropping - that's because the sugar content in the sap is dropping.

Here's a picture of Oscar guarding the sap buckets:

He needs a haircut badly, as do I.  We're having a contest to see who can go longer without a haircut.

For good measure, here's a bonus picture of Oscar hunting his nemesis:  chipmunks



Josh said...

Out in Western Massachusetts the trees have already bloomed. It was a bad year. The farmer I know is only going to get 300 gallons, normally they get 1,000.

EconomicDisconnect said...

I hope you can get some more before the trees change over. My wife and I have a small pug dog and he is so wimpy he will not walk out on snow for more than a couple of minutes, glad your dog seems to be made of sterner stuff.

Frozen in the North said...

Up here in Quebec it has been a bumper crop, with temperature at night below 32, and about 37-40 during the day.

Your process is a work of love, no other word comes to mind.