Well it has been a long time since our last post and I apologize but it has been one of those months. There has been a few developments in the last little while, but first the rest of the season.
The sap went buddy. The trees don’t produce the same type of sap all year round. The only good sap is at the beginning of the season when it is clear and sweet. Near the end of the season when the trees start producing buds the sap changes cloudy and bitter. The true tell tail sign is when you start to boil it you will notice the smell, there is no mistaking it.
Our clean up this year was also a bit hairy as the well on the property started to collapse which cased a ton of problems with sand. Making maple syrup takes a TON of water to produce. Most of it is used making sure everything is clean clean clean. We have back washed the bush and the solution is going to sit in the lines for a little while.
Cleaning the big evaporator was a bit of a challenge but we did get it all done. A bit of a challenge when compared to the small evaporator.
Another great news is that the FIRE WOOD IS DONE!!!
Trilliums are out again which means we are officially done all of our work in the bush (for a month or so). The Trillium is Ontario’s Official flower and they are illegal to pick or destroy, this means we have to stop work in the bush which is all right with us.
Well we are in the depths of winter right now and though it seems as if spring is a lifetime away we are still working feverishly to be ready. We have taken a large on a large amount of work with the new evaporator this year but Mike and I are confident that we are going to have everything ready to go.
Our main concerns at this point are making it easy to clean everything. Having Chuck the evaporator was pretty easy to deal with, one person could lift the whole pan and put it on the quad to clean it. Our new pan however is a different beast. We need a trailer to get it from point A to point B so I don’t foresee us moving it around during the season. The hood alone takes 4 people to take it off and it is heavier than you would think. So Mike and I have put some rigging up to make the job a bit easier.
We also dropped the height of our extractor and are building a better surface to keep it on.
We were also able to salvage some amazing speakers from the garbage pile which work great in the sugar shack. Last year we must have blown about 6 speakers as the stereo setup is not really thought out we simply found old broken speakers from one placer or another, plugged them in and turned the volume up as loud as we wanted. If they blew up we replaced them. The new speakers we found have not blown when we turned the amp up full blast so I think we found a winner.
It is also going to be nice there is not going to be as much moisture in the sugar shack because all of the steam is going to be piped right out the steam stacks and out of the building. Should make for a pretty amazing show, I can’t wait to get the boiling happening!
More fun to come!
We are currently in the Sugar Shack boiling away drawing off some syrup. These are some picture from earlier today. We are still very backed up with the amount of sap we have to go though so we are burning all of Mike’s good wood while he is at work.
Hello Out there, what do you think of the new website? Mike and I have been having too much fun boiling away on the old flat pan which we have happily renamed Burns. We also have a new member of the family, a 4′ x 17.5″ Laparier / Waterloo / Smalls evaporator which we call Chuck.
We picked it up off of another producer on the island who used it for one season and then sold it to buy a bigger one.
We have decided to run the two evaporators in tandem, concentrating the sap with Burns and than feeding it to Chuck so that he can spit out that sweet nectar of the gods. Not sure if this is going to work but we are going to try it anyway.
We have been taking a few videos here and there but it is very time consuming posting videos. We have satellite high speed here at the camp but it is not the same as DSL or Cable. Defiantly better then that Devil dial-up.
So mostly we are taking pictures for now to keep everyone updated.
We stated boiling on March 12th on Burns and we still have not pulled off a batch of syrup. There is still some maintenance we have to do in order to get it running at peak efficiency but the important thing is that we are removing water from sap.
We also finished up our sugar kitchen with RUNNING WATER, I am very exited. It is nothing special, just a bucket in the rafters, but it does let us wash things a lot better which makes things move a lot smoother.
We have been trying to get Chuck operational, last night Mike cleaned the flu pans and set everything up in place. We completed the money knob bypass which we used to pump concentrated directly into Chuck!
That’s all to report for now. Things are moving forward and it won’t be long now before we pull off batch #1 for 2011.
Well it is starting to get a bit colder these days, November is right around the corner and that means snow is not far away. I use to hate this time of year, the long winter was just around the corner and it seemed there was nothing to look forward to until July and August when you could finally go swimming again.
That was before I caught the maple syrup bug, now I look forward to winter because it means we are only a few months away from spring ( I know I am jumping the gun a bit).
It also means that the holidays are just around the corner which is a busy time for maple syrup gifts of the season. For now I am just waiting until the first snow before I start thinking of that.
Until then I am going to be thinking of having the operation dialed in.
When everything is running just right we call it being dialed in. The wood fire is perfect. The temperature of the concentrate is slowly rising. The flow into the evaporator is set just right to match the steam coming off the rolling boil . The temperature outside is in the magic zone. But best of all someone else is splitting firewood.
Mike and I are very happy to announce that we have a new Maple Syrup Producing buddy. This is our 14’ x 4’ Lapierre / Waterloo / Smalls Evaporator. This is quite a step up from our little flat pan and Mike and I are very exited about getting it rigged up.
The reason it took so long to get this thing out of the truck were these stupid little wheel wells which sat about 4” off the bottom. They where a constant battle with all the equipment, let that be a lesson for renting a 26’ Uhaul.
We had a great time picking it up in Owen Sound, driving down to Tobermory and making the crossing to ManitoulinIsland on the fabled ferry Chi-Cheemaun.
Here is a little video of our first born, Cheers:
Thanks to Roger Garside for helping up get this as quickly as we did.
Song “St. Joe’s” by The Dave Chapman Relief Fund.
Today started out great. We began the day by fixing up the sugar shack. We installed a rudimentary sink drain for the sink . Mike put in some more rafter braces and cut out a few more logs. The Sugar shack looks amazing, much more wide open.
We did not spend much time out in the bush today as the weather was not helping what so ever. We are going to be able to get a few small things done tomorrow before I have to head back down south to Toronto. I really wish I could stay up here from longer but I have to keep working away at my web development stuff.
We took some time to visit with Keith Brown and pay off some bills, we picked up a gripple tool and some mainline ties. We should be all set for tying on the lines early tomorrow morning.
After we came back we leveled out the main evaporator and put in a sink and counter. We also put some insulation between the roof and walls to hold in a bit more heat. It gets nice and toasty in there now.
I will be able to post some videos and pictures when I get back to Toronto.
Thats all for now.