I found this great video of the best toy I have seen in a while. I really want one!
This guy figured out how to boil maple syrup using steam. He has this great wood fired steam set up that looks like a hoot to work. He is not sure if it is more efficient than the traditional setup but it really is a cool looking apparatus.
We had our first real evaporation night on Saturday night. We were out there until about 4:00am catching up to the sap collection. We have a pretty good chunk of syrup now that needs to be finished.
For those of you who want to know finishing syrup is when you do your final boil on a controlled heat source like a propane stove. This way you have constant consistent heat in order to use your hydrometer or hydrotherm in order to tell what the density of the liquid is.
We definitely need some sort of way to evacuate the excess steam that Chuck creates. When the temperature outside dips down the place becomes full of stream, we call it the Ghost. It’s time to put our thinking caps on and solve this problem and keep the Ghost at bay.
It has been a very productive weekend in the bush. We started a very detailed log book to record all the events both good and bad. It is going to take a while to get use to how what to record but It will help us with a lot of our planning and also writing these posts.
We started up the evaporator on Friday night. The pan that we are using is a deep flat pan, not a flue pan. Because I had the most experience with the evaporating I was the first to fire it up. I decided to run the pan with a 1/4” of liquid in it to start, needless to say I burnt the pan pretty bad and pretty quick.
That was not the only problem we had with the evaporator. We also are trying to fuel it with Bass wood. It was pretty damp and really did not burn all that well, because of this we have renamed it Ass wood.
Steam is also one of the big problems that we had to overcome. Our custom hood worked pretty good at channeling the steam but the real problem came from not having it at the right angle. It was blowing steam right into the faces of the operator rather than to the back of the pan an out of the shack. The hood also did not really come down far enough so we draped towels over it to keep the stream contained. We have it dialed in pretty good now.
More to come on how the bush is running and what happened over the weekend.
Well yesterday was a good boiling day. We had some workers out at the camp again to give us a hand with fire wood. Fire wood has been the story all year, not enough wood to keep the fire going. We have always been playing catch up, finding wood when it is light and burning it when it is dark. I don’t know what Bill is going to do when he burns all the stuff that he has at camp. There is little to no accessible dead standing in his bush anymore so I guess it is up to the weather to get rid of the snow. The lack of wood is not really Bill’s fault as he was injured when he was suppose to be stockpiling for this season.
As for sap there is a ton of it. I thought I was going to completely miss the season turns out it is going to be running for a few more weeks to come, at least that is what the word is. Everyone is still making light and some medium, yesterday’s boil was no different.
I was able to take a tour of a few other operations on the Island, one was Stadnick’s and the other was Chess Wallace’s. Chess is one of the old timers who has seen it all, It was quite amazing to check out the old operation. He is running a diesel powered steam boiler. The steam is heated up and pumped though tubes at 100 psi these tubes than go into a the boiling pan to heat the sap. His vacuum system runs at about 20-25 psi which is much higher than Bill’s bush(13-15). He also has a reverse osmosis machine that gets the sugar content up to about 10% which makes boiling off a lot easier. It is a really slick looking operation.
Today I spend most of the day helping out at the maple syrup festival at the legion hall. My mother is one of the board members at the Children’s Library so she was selling all sorts of things for fundraising. That place was insanely busy, line ups out the door.
I am going to be heading out to the sugar bush for the last time this season in the afternoon. I am really going to miss it here but I will be back next year. This is going to be the last post that I have to deal with this stupid dial up internet but it is also going to be the last one from the island. I can’t wait until next year.