WHEEEEEEHHAAAAAAA! We are done with the majority of snow moving and removing around the shack. Maybe…Not really. Okay there is still lots to shovel…
Thanks to Casey Lightnin’ we’re one step closer. At least we have the lines up and connected to the extractor. ACoo Coo Coo!
First full day in the bush and Mike and I are stoked. Started off kind of bad as the plan we had come up with was rendered futile. We wanted to keep busy so bad that we ended up starting to work before we knew what to work on.
I leaned how to weld which was very helpful, tomorrow I will lean to use a cutting touch to undo everything. We needed to elevate the holding tanks to create a gravity feed to the evaporator because we needed to get the sap up higher than the evaporator. We welded brackets onto a huge trailer frame in order to hold two 400+ gallon tanks.
The first thing that we did was to move the intended vac shack to its new location. The shack was about 14’ by 14’ and was not easy to maneuver in a bush where the trees are 12’ apart. We were going to move it all the way to the other end of the yard and then pump the sap back to the camp in order to boil it. Good thing we did not move it all the way. When I am not on “devil dial up” I’ll upload some amusing video of the moving process.
Keith Brown was nice enough to come to our bush and inspect our prospective operation. He put us on the the right path on a lot of the issues in the bush. I am sure everyone has heard of the KISS principle before, we just needed a push in the right direction.
Now we are going to put the vacuum tank in the garage that we were going to use as our sugar shack in the next few years. He than suggested that we just boil in there as well…. you know “where the sap is”. Both mike and I felt a whole lot better after having him inspect everything. We both feel confidant that we are on the right path.
After Keith left we decided to mark all the trees that we wanted to tap in the bush. We marked them with flagging tape until it was too dark to tell the trees apart. The count so far was 268, I think we are going to hit 500 tap goal in a smaller area than we thought.
A sugar bush in the fall has a beautiful odour of crisp leaves that have begun to fall to ground, the smell of the assorted trees mixing togeather to produce the seeds being sown for next years crop of young saplings. Combined, all create an amazing perfume that is indescribable and is something to behold. It is the feeling, it is the ora, the majesty and the favorite time of year of mine to be outdoors in what mother nature has worked to create for eons. It belongs to the annals of life. The bush comes alive with the stirings of creatures gathering food for their winter hardships to come. Its is full of the sound of mating rituals, arguing hiararchys, and the distant cries of migrating birds. The feel of the chill in the air of the northern winds send goose bumps up your arms and across your neck. The sight of wood stove smoke gently drifting across the canopy awash in brightly painted leaves, sparks an awe inspired smile on ones face. It takes on a new strata of meaning for one and all. Just being able to expirence it is one of the greatest things that my forefathers could proudly pass on to me, and I accept it with my own sense of wonder and respect. I love it ! Fall is to me the best times of my life. How humbling it is to see this magical transformation from the interior of the artisans studio.
Well in a few weeks David will be on my door step and the Vac shack will be renovated to facilitate the vacuum tank and pump. I am looking forward to this as Dave has not really got a chance to see what is going to happen in the bush side of operations yet. Fear not we will be ready for spring in the lines department. Its the evaporator side of things that has got me thinking. We have an old 2′X6′ arch and two 2′X6′ flat pans that my grandfather had set up from his years in the buisness. The trouble is he was retired had all the time in the world to boil and didn’t really worry about efficency. We on the other hand can’t run like this! To add to my delema when I went to move the arch into the sugar shack the bottom and all the fire bricks fell out. I was bummed out but to tell the truth not too much because it was the first real hurtle I am faced with and it is easily fixed, Just requires some time. Anyway I have the parts I need coming and will have it operational in a few more days. The pans however are a problem. We only have flat pans which are used for the finishing of syrup. We need what is called a flue pan. Aflue pan has a series of small channels that the sap falls into in the bottom of the pan, and it protrudes into the fire below to increase the boiling surfaces and therefore increase efficency. I priced one out and they’re not cheap. I also have been hunting for a used one and have had no luck so far. But we can still make syrup it will just take longer thats all. I plan to build a stand for one pan attach a couple of propane burners for our finishing pan. The other pan will be the evaporator. It will need a hood so I am going to talk to Keith Brown on what I could use for a temp hood and if I have to I will build one. So that is what has been happening around St JOE Gotta go.
So I did not get a chance to post anything last night because of how busy we have been. This of course is a sign that we are making syrup.
It has been a pretty good year so far, we are boiling every day. The funny thing is we keep making light syrup. I think we had one batch of medium and the rest has been light and extra light. This could mean that we are in for a very long season. The trees do what they want I guess.
Yesterday we tapped in 108 trees, this brings the grand total up to 1753, pretty close to a full bush for Bill. At the end of the day I went over to Bill and Ann’s for a barBQ, it was amazing.
We had a lot of help today from a few people that came into the bush. Most of the day, like every other day was spend splitting firewood and boiling, all day. Some good new is that the quad is fixed, turns out it was the combination of a weak battery and bad gas, thank you Esquire Honda for helping me out.
Today was one of those days you just love what is happening outside. It was really warm during the day and started to freeze when it got dark. We had a great run and were making maple syrup all day. I also had a chance to take some really cool night shots of the sugar bush. The full moon was amazing and lit up everything.
I am going to keep this post brief as I have to get to bed and start the whole thing over tomorrow morning bight and early. Seeing the Island a buzz in maple syrup time makes me want to get my own sugarbush someday. I am going to have to crunch some numbers and see if it is possible. It would be nice to be able to live for a whole year off nothing but maple syrup.