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Thread: Backyard Syrup Enthusiasts 2019

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
    Posts
    65

    Default Backyard Syrup Enthusiasts 2019

    Last season i started a thread geared toward the back yard or hobbyist syrup maker that generated some nice conversation and information sharing, so I thought I would try it again this season (if the season ever gets started!). I welcome all backyarders to tell your story, share your seasons highs and lows, or whatever!

    This is my fourth season making syrup, third here in Mount Vernon, northwest of Augusta. I use a concrete block arch with 3 steam trays in conjunction with a wood stove/steam tray as a warming pan. This setup will evaporate around 7 gallons per hour so I can easily get a gallon of syrup a day. If I start reasonably early enough I can push 60 gallons. This past summer I added gravel around the area to eliminate the spring mud pit, as well as a new wood shed for a cord of sap wood.

    I collect in milk jugs attached to 5/16 spiles with a piece of tube and jute as a hanger. I drag a homemade sled (old generator frame on downhill skis) around with 2-5 gallon pails to collect. The pails go in a snow bank for storage or the shed of it is too cold outside.

    This season we are trying to make 10+ gallons, which is more than we've done before. In February I thought this might be doable, but now I'm starting to get a little concerned about how this season might unfold. The past seasons have had a nice warm up in February, so I tapped a few weeks ago thinking this might be a trend. I couldn't have been more off. I've collected 10 gallons so far which I will boil soon, but the cold set in and the trees froze up. So I think, like everyone else, I'm waiting. My concern is a quick warm up and a short run, especially the longer it takes to warm up. I guess time will tell. I tend to be rather impatient so I probably should have waited a few weeks to tap, but I've read it really doesn't matter.

    What's happening with other backyarders? Anyone getting any sap? What are your seasons plans? I look forward to reading your stories and best of luck to all!!
    2x4 concrete block arch with three steam trays
    Separate warming stove/steam tray
    2016 12 taps, 3 gallons
    2018 15 taps, 7 gallons
    2019 38 taps, 13.6 gallons
    Mostly sugar maples, a few reds on 200 year old homestead

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    W.Chesterfield,NH
    Posts
    71

    Default

    I haven't tapped yet I'm in southwestern N.H.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    south new berlin,n.y.
    Posts
    127

    Default

    I'm in central N.Y. and like you I tapped when it was warm in February and it ran lightly for 2 days and then a deep freeze froze every thing solid and it has not thawed yet. It's a good thing I only tapped a few trees close to the house as with the snow it would be a bear to collect the sap. So I guess I am forced to wait like everyone else until it warms up enough to run. I made a barrel evaporator and my own pans and get 12 to 14 gallon evaporation on a good day, other wise it's about 10 or a bit more. Hope we all get to boil soon and good luck to everyone.
    homemade barrel evaporator 2 x 4 divided flat pan 40 taps 10 x 8 sap house hood and pre heater

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Farmington Maine area 44.6* N
    Posts
    47

    Default

    No taps in here yet. The extended 10 day surface temp forecast shows a warm up on or about the 12th so probably tap then.
    The block arch is all dug out and equipment ready to go.
    Snow depth is similar to last year 3-4 feet deep.
    Only thing new this year is tapping Sugar Maples toward the back of the property. Its 1500' over some terrain and
    bridge to get there but can tap less reds and less boiling is the objective with
    the snowmobile takes the work out of collecting it.
    Backyard Sugarin' since 1991
    Concrete block wood burner
    24 taps on gallon jugs
    2' x 2' x 6" SS pan
    5 gal. SS steamer pan for preheating
    89 Arctic Cat Panther sap hauler

    Making a few gallons syrup most years.
    Maple Baked Beans
    Maple Oat Sourdough Bread
    Maple Wine

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Lyman maine
    Posts
    1

    Default Slow start

    We have 350 taps in and ready! Cold weather has nearly stopped everything. Taps on field edge and lines on sureflo vac are slowly producing. 60 gallons of sap in first weekend with a 2.2% sugar content. Hoping for thaw!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
    Posts
    65

    Default

    Today was a marker of what's to come. Even with 40 degree weather the trees are still holding back. I collected maybe 2 gallons off 23 taps but nothing to write home about. Like Woodsy said the warm up looks to begin after the 12th. I can't help walking around and wondering if the taps are in the right locations (relative to last years) since I am still new at this and used to a decent flow after tapping- not what is happening this year.

    I will boil this week the 12 gallons i have, which at a brick 3 to 3.4 should give me strong quart.

    I was reading in the Maple Sugar Book by Scott and Helen Nearing that they had a peculiar weather year in 1945 while sugaring in Vermont. They noted deep snow and temps in the low 30's in March 3. The temps shot up with rain over the next few days and over an 11 day period the lows were below 20 only three times. By March 15 The snow was gone and it was in the low 60's. Their sugaring weather lasted a fortnight with the resulting crop 1/3 of normal. Worst year in 100 at that time. They contrasted that with 1943 where the first warm day was March 26 with snow storms through April 23, making 3 times the syrup of 1945.

    Which one will it be for 2019?
    2x4 concrete block arch with three steam trays
    Separate warming stove/steam tray
    2016 12 taps, 3 gallons
    2018 15 taps, 7 gallons
    2019 38 taps, 13.6 gallons
    Mostly sugar maples, a few reds on 200 year old homestead

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    ME
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mvhomesteader View Post
    Today was a marker of what's to come. Even with 40 degree weather the trees are still holding back. I collected maybe 2 gallons off 23 taps but nothing to write home about. Like Woodsy said the warm up looks to begin after the 12th. I can't help walking around and wondering if the taps are in the right locations (relative to last years) since I am still new at this and used to a decent flow after tapping- not what is happening this year.
    I still haven't tapped her in Mount Vernon, and not even sure if I will next weekend. Days are still cold, and I don't mind missing a bit. I haven't seen any steam billowing out at LaRue's as I drove by Blake Hill road this weekend. Maybe I missed it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    rockport maine
    Posts
    63

    Default sap-n-school Rockport 2019

    We fit into the hobby category for sure. I am a Kindergarten teacher and we tap as a part of our math and science program. The students really do most of the work- we have 40 taps in various locations around campus.
    We collect using a World War 2 ammo cart,sleds and five gallon buckets. We tapped 30 last week and have 10 more to go. It has been fun tracking the weather as part of class. We boil over an open fire in our sandbox. We are counting the days til warm up--literally we are leaning how to count with tally marks!

    http://bugsmudbooksandsticks.com/sap-n-school/Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 9.39.49 AM.jpg
    Last edited by Bugsmudbooksandsticks; 03-05-2019 at 08:45 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    156

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugsmudbooksandsticks View Post
    We fit into the hobby category for sure. I am a Kindergarten teacher and we tap as a part of our math and science program. The students really do most of the work- we have 40 taps in various locations around campus.
    We collect using a World War 2 ammo cart,sleds and five gallon buckets. We tapped 30 last week and have 10 more to go. It has been fun tracking the weather as part of class. We boil over an open fire in our sandbox. We are counting the days til warm up--literally we are leaning how to count with tally marks!

    http://bugsmudbooksandsticks.com/sap-n-school/Attachment 19609
    This is tremendous on so many levels, good on you teach!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Manchester Maine
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Will start putting the taps out this weekend and hope the heater banks melt most of my trees are road side with tubing into 5 gallon buckets
    Backyard sapper

    Mason 2X4 XL with blower
    12x24 post and beam shack
    100 taps on tubing into the shack
    15-20 gallons a year for family and friends

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