I'm behind on blogging, which means there will probably be a few rapid fire posts to try to get caught up.
First off, we are ALL DONE making maple syrup. In a previous post I had talked about us tapping the trees and collecting sap. For about 3 weeks in February, our free time was dominated with collecting buckets and buckets of sap, stoking the fire and boiling down sap into syrup.
As I mentioned before, this process is not new to me. Here is a picture of me from 30 years ago.
And one taken last month:
We boil each batch over the fire for hours upon hours, when the sap has boiled down enough and is close to becoming syrup, we bring it in the house to finish it off on the stove. Our usual routine this year was to start the outside fire in the afternoon, after Corey would get home from work. Then we would stoke/boil/add buckets of sap until close to midnight. We would then put the pot of "almost syrup" on the stove on low all night. In the morning I would turn it up and finish it off while Corey was at work. This would usually take about 3 more hours on the stove. This part is very tricky because you are waiting for it to get to EXACTLY 219.6 degrees. If it goes over by much, you end up with maple sugar and all that work is wasted.
You can see how this process can take a lot out of a person. By the end of it, we were pretty exhausted and ready for it to be over. In fact, the trees were still running when we stopped. There just comes a point when you are ready to smell like something other than woodsmoke.
When you start looking like this, then you know it is time to stop.
All in all, it was a good year for maple syrup. We ended up with about 7 gallons.