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Got to the sugar bush.

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Backwoods Savage, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I did not get many pictures but here is a sample. Also notice the lack of snow! We really lost a lot today. In the open areas there is little or none and at the sugar bush, their woods is fairly open so not much snow at all there now, just some off to the north of the sugar shack. The first picture was where I parked and ready to walk in. It was a very warm day today as we got to 56 degrees!

    [​IMG]

    Yes, the sap is dripping.
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    The sugar shack and the tank used for gathering the sap. That is still done by hand here with many volunteers.
    [​IMG]

    And the boiling begins.
    [​IMG]

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Looks great. Is this your own operation?

    My buddies and I just finished ours this last weekend. We canned up 7 1/4 gallons of syrup. We have a very small setup but we made that in about 2 weeks which was perfect for us. We could have gone longer as the sap is still running but we can only drink so much beer anymore :)

    pen
  3. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    nice dennis! all i can say is...SWEET!
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Very cool stuff there!
  5. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Nice pics
    Thanks
  6. DuckDog

    DuckDog Burning Hunk

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    Looks good.

    My family has made syrup for 35 years or so. My earliest memories are of my dad standing over the arch all day and all night! Very small scale. Only run 50-75 taps and only make 5-10 gal per year.

    Terrible run so far this season. Still lots of snow in the bush as the temps have been cool as of late but now they are calling for multiple days of 52* but only droping to 35* at night. Hope to see the optimal 41-21* swings before the snow is all gone. Tapped Monday and have only seen maybe 60-80 gal.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Pen, this is not mine but a good friend has it. Actually it originally was his dad's but now that dad is gone, son and mother have it. He and I sort of grew up together for many years as I lived with this family and was treated just like family. I still look at them as family too and love them just the same.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's great to see this is still being done by the family. Looks like this is going to be a good year for them, wish I could be there. I love the smell of boiling sap with a hint of woodsmoke.
  9. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    I'm jealous of that evaporator. My operation is just a bit smaller scale - eight bags feeding two pots on the kitchen stove to entertain the almost 5 year old who wanted to bring real maple syrup for her class on pancake breakfast day at preschool ... which was today. Apparently it was a big hit and we have half a gallon of syrup left over. :)
  10. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    That's great. There is something I find incredibly fascinating and fun about obtaining a food product from drilling a hole in a tree. I tap about 3 to 6 trees every year. Some years I make syrup, but I'm not set up with the evaporator and boiler. I just boil it on the stove. What I usually do with the sap is use it in place of water when I brew. It makes tasty beer.

    I once took a drive up to Quebec Province during sugar season. There were so many sugar shacks running.. it was really neat to see.
  11. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    This is a really intereresting thread, and Dennis, thanks for the photos.

    I have often wondered about tapping our birch trees for the sap, but the sugar content is lower than sugar maple so may not be as effective.
    Too late to do it this year anyway, the sap started rising back in Feb for the birch trees round here, but I think I'll put it on my to do list for next year.
    Nearly a year to do some learning......... :)
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Woodchip, I swear one of these days I too will tap a birch tree just to see what the syrup turns out like. I've heard it can be quite good but not on par with maple for sure. Besides, I'd like to see some of the neighbor's faces if they see me tapping birch rather than maple. lol
  13. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    Dennis

    Is that the Sugar Bush that is UP by Cedarville MI? If so I drive by it on the way to our farm.

    Billy
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sorry Billy, this is closer to Elsie than Cedarville. That is a long ways!
  15. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Nice pics Dennis.
    I went to the sugar shack to help unload buckets a couple-3 weeks ago. We got almost 200 gallons just in about an hour.
    Helped drill the holes and run the lines back in Feb., and that was interesting work.
    Very interesting to see the sap dripping, and that it's very clear and runs like water.
    Smaller boiling operation though.
  16. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    Dennis

    I was just curious as the one by Cedarville is only about 6 miles from our place. And it would have been real easy to give you directions from there.

    Billy
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That's okay Billy. I'll let you know when we plan on driving up this summer. Or at least I hope we can get up there this summer. Looks like a busy year for us. At least it has started that way and with all the plans, it might get really interesting. But then, that just might be a good reason to head north for a week. I always feel I'm coming back home when I cross that bridge heading north.
  18. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    Sounds good Dennis

    Take care my friend!

    Billy
  19. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    ya know, dennis.....if you bring a bit of that syrup, they just may waive the fee of crossing the bridge!!!
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Ha! No waiving of the fees on that monster. That's okay though. It has to be very expensive to keep that thing in good shape. I wonder over the years just how many gallons of paint has been used.
  21. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Great looking operation there, Dennis!

    We made 35 gallons on 120 taps this year. The new sugar shack came out better than we could have hoped and most of all enjoyed the visitors along the way.

    That is one heck of an evaporator! We are boiling on a 2X6 with flat pans, but there are more improvements to come.

    Enjoy that maple sweetness!
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That sounds great Remkel. I always loved making the syrup.

    I have helped a few folks who just boiled in a large pan and it works out very well but once you use the better evaporators you'd hate to go back to the old way.
  23. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Here is a photo of our shack....lumber came from my father's property and the frame and outer boards were milled using an alaskan chainsaw mill. We still have a few boards to mill, but it is just about complete

    Attached Files:

  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That is one fine looking sugar shack! It also appears you fire the boiler with wood rather than gas. That is good too. I used to know a few operations that used gas and it has its advantages for a huge operation but can be a bit costly.
  25. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Yup, 3 cords of wood for this years operation....imagine having to load your stove every 10 minutes.....that is our life for 5-6 weeks every year.

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