Friday, April 25, 2014

A CBC Visit and Making Maple Syrup

We have had a very long and cold winter here... and I loved every bit of it! :)

Yes, I prefer snow to summer. Go ahead, judge me.

Anywho, the time for sugaring has come- and gone now. We didn't get to start boiling down sap to make maple syrup until the end of March! Usually we start at the end of February or the beginning of March, and boil until the middle-ish or the end of March. 

But, no. 

 This year was quite different. It was too cold for the sap to flow into buckets. Then it got too warm and we were losing sap because it was turning brown... that's not good, people! Good maple sap should look like water; we want it to turn brown only after we have it boiling.

The good thing about this year-- the VERY good thing-- is that our cousins by contract got to come for a visit and assist with sugaring!
Unfortunately, Beth and Kathryn were not able to join us as they are both far away right now. We did miss them terribly!

OK, on to sugaring! :)

The guys rebuilding the sugaring pit.

Our classy blood cousins came over, too!

There was a good deal of chopping, er.. attempting to chop wood going on.

Molgum trying to make the chunk of frozen sap to melt faster while Count Bob doesn't look so certain it is going to work.

Count Bob, I'm sure you really enjoyed your hotdog because it took so long to get done. :)

KT Bugs all bundled up!

UJ built a small "pit" behind the big one where the sap was boiling. In this picture Cherry and UJ are toasting marshmallows.

Apparently Doofus got smoke in his eyes while roasting his hotdog. Who knew making lunch would make you cry?

Kiri talking to Beth on the phone.

Well, there are a few pictures from our day of sugaring with the cousins by contract. We were very sad to see them go.

But life goes on.

 I will add a few more random pictures before I go on to explain how we work.
 Doofus, my brother, on lunch break.

KT Bugs is ready for some wiffle ball.

Cherry roasting a hotdog.

Doofus chopping wood.

KT and I.

KT makes the oddest faces sometimes....

And this is what happens when I get bored.

Not sure if that is steam or heat waves making the picture this way. Same difference, anyway.

Now for our operation:

Here is where the magic happens!

This is where we make the fire. As you can see, there are a few hot coals left from the day before.

We use paper as a base to start the fire.

Next are the little sticks to help the fire get going.

Then add some bigger pieces of wood.

Ah, a roaring fire!

Putting the grate over the fire is a very hot job.

And so is getting on the pot. Yes, this is different than the pans that are pictured earlier. We borrowed the pot from some friends, it makes boiling easier.

We put bricks around the pot to better keep the heat and flames inside the pit.

And here is the sap boiled down into maple syrup!

We strain the syrup to get any "floaters" out.

Maple syrup!!!

Finally, the syrup is poured into canning jars- strained again, of course! :)

I hope you enjoyed seeing how we make maple syrup!

Until next time!

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