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Thread: Spring Harvest 2019

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Walpole, NH
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    Sounds like you are off to a good start. What grade was the syrup?
    Sugaring for 45+ years
    New Sugarhouse 14'x32'
    New to Me Algier 2'x8' wood fired evaporator
    225 Sugar Maples Currently,(105 on 3/16" and 110 on Shurflo 4008 vacuum, 10 gravity), (16,000 before being disabled)
    1947 Farmall H and Wagon with gathering tank
    2012 Kubota with forks to move wood around

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Barrington, NH
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    The first night, I usually feel like I'm running around with my head cut off trying to get last minute stuff squared away. Usually something's sticking, I forgot to do something (like add defoamer), etc.

    Not sure. I just put it in the canner. I got hit with a cold/fever that morning and just wanted to get it done and leave. I'm guessing dark, but it could've been amber. The sap had been collecting since Thursday.

    So, I stopped in the woods this morning to check on the pump shed. Found vac. still running and like 100 gal in the tank since Monday morning's pickup...cool. Downside is high winds blew the pump shed door open, and the releaser is filled with frozen sap. Not sure if it's frozen solid (it sure looks like it), but I closed the door and turned the heater on high. Hoping it's thawed out by tonight, so I can test the releaser and make sure the pump/floats still work fine.
    Last edited by Amber Gold; 02-27-2019 at 07:55 AM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Loudon NH
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    I hope that nothing got damaged in the freeze up. That wind was bad yesterday.
    Russ

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

    Algier 2x6 evaporator, W F Mason arch
    Lapierre 250 Turbo RO machine
    SP-22 vacuum pump
    1930 Ford Model AA Doodlebug tractor
    1971 IH 454 52hp diesel tractor
    A couple of Honda 4 wheelers
    About a dozen chainsaws and no chickens

  4. #24
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    Mar 2008
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    Like everyone else, not much to report.

    Saturday. Replumbed the discharge piping from my RO because of my new tank. I can now send concentrate to 3 different tanks and permeate to two different tanks. Just need sap to test the new system out…

    Sunday. Got the vac pump going and walked the woods. Overall, things are in good shape from the cold snap and wind storm. Only a few blown down branches and only found one fittings pulled apart from the cold. Minimal sap flow, so vac leaks hard to find, but ended the day at 26.5”.

    ~400 gal in my woods tank, half of which is a block of ice. Only going to get worse today with whatever we get for sap. Ice block will grow with this week’s cold. Not cool.

    I have a Sta-Rite pump inside of my releaser. Bombproof. After sitting in my frozen releaser, it still works fine. I think the same thing happened a couple years ago too. Pump's been run dry for up to 2 weeks when my float string broke. This pump owes me nothing, and it still works great.

  5. #25
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    Dec 2002
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    Loudon NH
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    Josh you're going to like having a dedicated sweet tank. Do you do your passes at 50% concentrate and 50% permeate and keep going until you reach the percentage that you want or do you have a specific number for concentrate flow?

    I don't know if I can do it but I want to try to go to 14% or higher in 2 passes now that I've got the second tower on my RO. I'll send the first pass to my sweet tank and then send the second pass to the head tank. I'm thinking of trying 1 gpm on the concentrate side and whatever I get for permeate at 300 psi. My goal is to get to 10% on the first pass.
    Russ

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

    Algier 2x6 evaporator, W F Mason arch
    Lapierre 250 Turbo RO machine
    SP-22 vacuum pump
    1930 Ford Model AA Doodlebug tractor
    1971 IH 454 52hp diesel tractor
    A couple of Honda 4 wheelers
    About a dozen chainsaws and no chickens

  6. #26
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    Mar 2008
    Location
    Barrington, NH
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    Saturday. Spent it in the woods checking for vac leaks the best I could (sap not really running) and gained another 5 taps with new trees. Ended the day with 26.5”. Hauled out 500+ gal of sap late in the day and brought it back to the sugarhouse for processing Sunday night. Left about 200 gal of ice in the tank. I didn’t check the SSC, but I’m guessing it was pretty sweet with all the ice I left behind. Inside the releaser, I noticed there was a lot of bubbling from air coming in…figure I have a threaded fitting on my sump pump that’s leaking air into the system, so needs to be tightened up. Since it’s inside the releaser, there’s no way to know it’s there…wonder how long??

    Sunday. Spent the day at my daughter’s gymnastics meet. She did well, and it was fun to watch. Nic made a new friend, but sharing is still a work in progress. Fortunately, nothing happening yesterday in maple world, so that was good. Started the RO machine when I got back and started getting the evap unfrozen enough, so I could boil. Just after getting the evaporator up to a boil, Zuri decides to find a skunk…awesome. Fortunately, she didn’t get sprayed too bad. Shut things down and dealt with her. Started back up and finished the night with ~30 gal of syrup in the canner which includes my first boil too. First time I’ve been 2 weeks between boils.

    I’m liking the new membrane. I’ve been getting it to 10% on the first pass with 32-34F sap. Flows are something like 2/5.5 conc/perm pressure @ 350-400 psi. Plan moving forward is to wash after every concentrate cycle and to benchmark after every use. Hoping to maintain better flow rates longer and keep the membrane longer.

    4th tank is now setup, so hoping to utilize it the next time I boil and go to a 2 pass system.

    Russ, I used to do the 50/50 method, but found it took a while, so mid-season last year, I just set my conc. to 2gpm and recirc’d until the SSC was where I wanted it...generally 14%+. I found the sap went through the RO less often and my grade lightened up quite a bit right off the bat. Using the same approach so far, but haven’t checked my grade yet. Reason for using 2gpm is it matches my evap. Once I send sap to the head tank, I light the evap. By the time the evap gets boiling, I’ve got say 10 gal in the head tank, and once the evap gets really cooking, 2gpm is slightly faster than it. The RO will generally finish early enough that I can due a sugar rinse, rinse to drain, and wash before I’m done for the night, so I can put the RO on its final rinse when I go home for the night.

  7. #27
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    Dec 2002
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    Loudon NH
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    I was finally able to collect some sap tonight. The sap is still barely trickling in here but I've got enough to sweeten the pans tomorrow night. I did the 50/50 thing when I had my single tower to keep the flow rate as high as possible for as long as possible. It worked pretty good because I was able to get some good numbers that I could get back to when it was time to start with raw sap again. I only had to acid wash my membrane once mid season last year and then again at the end.

    When you're doing the 2 gpm thing what are you getting for SSC on your first pass? As I had posted above I'm hoping to get to 10% on the first pass. When I first got my RO I ran it at .75 gpm with the pressure just under 500 psi and was getting 8% out of it. That was before I learned about recirculating and keeping the pressure down some to save the membrane. I'm planning to push it a little harder and go to maybe 400 psi.

    What are you using for a membrane now? I just bought some MES, MS-2 membranes for mine.
    Russ

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

    Algier 2x6 evaporator, W F Mason arch
    Lapierre 250 Turbo RO machine
    SP-22 vacuum pump
    1930 Ford Model AA Doodlebug tractor
    1971 IH 454 52hp diesel tractor
    A couple of Honda 4 wheelers
    About a dozen chainsaws and no chickens

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Barrington, NH
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    So far, running it at 2 conc and starting it at 5.5 perm at about 350-400psi. I've been recircing to get the conc. level up because the bulk tank hasn't been set up. The recircing for a bit the other night, I was at 15% and getting 2/2.75 conc/perm flow rates.

    I got the CDL membrane because of the price. They gave me a good deal on it and said it was the same/comparable as MES. So far, I'm happy with it.

    Lapierre's benchmark test made the most sense to me...set the conc. at 3gpm and the pressure at 225 psi and take a perm reading. Temp corrected perm. flow readings have been 12.25gpm. I think my old membrane when I finished the season was around 6gpm, so huuuugge difference.

    I saw on your thread that you got some sap. Glad to hear it, and it's about time with this weather we've had. Trees are sloooowly waking up.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Loudon NH
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    I collected another 175 last evening so was able to start with 440 gallons for my first boil. We were playing with the concentrate flow and pressure settings and found that we can get 12% on a single pass at .5 gpm concentrate flow and 300 psi. We were getting about 2.25 gpm permeate flow at those settings. I tried the same thing at 400 psi and got 13% out of it. I'm going to go back to recirculating and see if I can get closer to 20%. It's nice to know that I can get sweet enough in a single pass to boil.

    I got the MES membranes for $215 each. That's about $100 less than I was paying for a Dow membrane at Atlantic RO and $250 less than Lapierre wanted for a Dow membrane. I like the performance of the MES membranes so far.
    Russ

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

    Algier 2x6 evaporator, W F Mason arch
    Lapierre 250 Turbo RO machine
    SP-22 vacuum pump
    1930 Ford Model AA Doodlebug tractor
    1971 IH 454 52hp diesel tractor
    A couple of Honda 4 wheelers
    About a dozen chainsaws and no chickens

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Barrington, NH
    Posts
    2,554

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    Interesting the 100psi boost only got you another 1% increase in conc. I wonder if it's any harder on your membrane going from 300 to 400. As a rule, and there's no basis for this, I keep normal operating pressures less than 400, but I have boosted it to 425 (I don't think 450) when I wanted a bit more out of it.

    Boiled Tuesday. I brought in almost 400 gal of my own (over 2 days) and GZ dropped off another 330 gal. Finally, finally, got the 4th tank into service, and overall, it was a great success. The tank outlet is lower than the piping, but the water level in the tank is much higher, but still had issues getting air out of the lien to keep the RO running. It took a few tries, but got it. Using the 2 pass system, the first pass took it to 7.5% at a 2/5-5.5 split (I think I was at 350 psi) and the second pass took it to 18% at a 2/2 split. Pressure was 350-400. Initial impression of the setup is very happy. I did a rinse, wash, rinse, and then benchmark. First two benchmarks were at 12.3 gpm, but this one was at 11.9gpm…membrane at 95%. Not sure if it’s due to rounding errors in the benchmark table, membrane plugging up (this is the highest concentrate I’ve run), or something else. I’ll keep benchmarking.

    Made about 15 gal of syrup. The first two batches, combined, graded out to an amber rich. Very good flavor.

    SSC so far has been 2.1%.

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