When I lived in N Michigan I had about 15-20 trees tapped, and boiled in an old Woodsman stove with the top cut off. I used a topless modified stainless steel beer keg for a boiler. Man, that was the best syrup!
Yes, it's almost time here in MN. Got my dad into this as a hobby a few year back, only do 15-20 taps. Enough for something like 1 bottle of syrup.! Our first year we did it on wood, still talk about it. Lots of work. We now use the evil propane, but it gets the job done easier even tho we miss the smokey flavor. My dad is in his mid 70's, get's him out doing something, and there is nothing like true maple syrup. Fun, we have family day when cooking down, bonfire, food, etc. It brings on spring here, something I'm looking forward to with the exception of the giant pumpkin patch. I'm shooting for a 1000lbr this year, we'll see, was doing the same last year and only had a 300lbr. Think big, have lots of hobbies, and then wonder where your time goes. Go figure.
did our summer vacation in Swanton 2 years ago. brought back two gallons of the delightful stuff from my wife's cousin's farm. Paid for it since that is one of the things the do for money....although I'm pretty sure they cut us a deal. Just used up the last bit of it this winter. GOOOOD stuff.
Been around maple syrup producers my whole life both in the ADK's of NY and NW Vermont (Fairfield). We run a 200-400 tree production here in the Adk's..been a slow year so for with this cold spell but is starting to pick up now..Use a Leader Evaporator from St. Albans VT
Wish I was your neighbor. I really miss getting maple syrup from local farms in CT. I used to pick up the stuff that was so dark and strong that most people didn't want it. Called it grade C syrup. I loved it's rich flavor. Out here I have to buy Canadian grade A dark from Costco.