Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The one gallon club
I'm not sure if there was such a thing as the one gallon club but there is now. All you need to be a member in good standing is to be able to say TRUTHFULLY that you've made at least one gallon of your own maple syrup.While this is not all that exclusive of a club here in New England , I'll bet that some of you don't even know someone who knows someone that makes their own. So now I will walk with my suburban nose in the air, pounding my chest of my great superiority .OK maybe not ,but it still feels kind of neat. After finally gathering enough sap (28 gallons )to make it at least a little more worthwhile I was able round up my maple sugarin stuff and work my way to the sugar shelter.Of course I had a few last minute improvements to tinker with . The countdown to ignition began at 4:30 .10...9...8... not as exciting as a shuttle launch but a lot cheaper. The fire got cranking and I was off , mission 003 " journey to the bottom of the sap bucket" was underway to boldly go where no other man has gone (at least since last time). Watching paint dry has nothing on actually just sitting and watching sap boil in the beginning .Except for maybe being warmer, sunnier, and usually not including large amounts of smoke and steam. Then it happens as the sap starts to reduce , a little at first ,then growing like the unraked leave pile ,the air gets a hint of the sweetness that's about to come and it starts to tint light amber. Although I really don't get much time to actually sit and watch the sap boil as I've got to manually add sap to my tank ,make sure the flow into the preheater is slow enough to keep it hot (oops don't forget it and have it overflow some of that precious sap) and stoke the fire .Hey I'm outdoors actually enjoying myself and getting a Vermont steambath in my own backyard. After three and a half hours I strut towards the house ,"mission accomplished" almost three quarts of hot sweet amber goodness. Life is good.