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Thread: Northern Ontario 2022

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Corbeil, Ont
    Posts
    98

    Default Northern Ontario 2022

    Dang, It's cold outside. -31c this morning. -19c tonight. Brrrr, It's properly cold out. I swear, it is the extreme cold that we get up here that makes Northern Ontario's maple syrup some of the best in the world. Trees are somehow tougher. Sap is somehow sweeter. We are more remote and the sweet taste of the good stuff tastes that much better after the long and cold winters. There is some reprieve in sight. Days are getting longer. Seeing the neighbours's coming out of hibernation. Rink on the lake is perfect for skating and I'm dreaming of steamy days and nights in the sugar shack.

    So I'm slowly getting ready. Have some plans to expand out to more taps. Made a few mods to the rig. Sold a few extra pans and pails. The biggest thing I am doing is getting ready for the season and navigating the lack of bottles and packaging that was available last year. I just want to put it out that there is a source for the 500ml Kent bottles. Those are my best sellers. The local farm stand crowd prefers to buy in glass and first time buyers like the 500ml size to try it out. I have tried the 1L and 500ml plastic jugs. They used to be ok in the past but the new square shaped "milk bottle" style jugs are crap. Seem to be weak, deform and don't hold up as well as the last iteration. That's why I go glass. Last year was brutal for finding glass. This year is not much better. My Normal CDL supplier in Barrie is limited on 1L glass and has absolutely no 500ml stuff. Local hardware and some of the local suppliers are the same thing. Do not despair. I found a shop that has pallets of 500ml Kent bottles. Not a plug. I have not affiliation to the shop. But if you are looking for that size give Kidd's home hardware a call. Ask for Neil. He is the local guru. They have hundreds of cases. I got mine today before they are sold out.

    Anyway, getting prepped because things happen fast when the sun keeps climbing. Money is going out but no syrup coming in yet. Keep warm and good luck this season.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    1,348

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    It was -27° here this morning. It was a cold January and start to February. We have a fair amount of snow here, but I have seen more in other years

    I am pretty well all ready to go now, except reassembling my temporary sugar shack. As soon as I see two consecutive days above zero in the 14 day forecast I will start to reassemble it. It will be a two to three day job, counting digging out the snow in the area.

    I bought some glass bottles from CDL in Orillia this summer, some people have donated some and I have a ton of Mason Jars. I have more than I need, unless I pick up some extra trees to tap, which is a strong possibility.

    The cold weather makes the start of the season seem so far away, but a change in the jet stream can change that in a hurry.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 109 L (28.8 gals) of delicious syrup made.
    DYI Vacuum Filter
    2023 - 170 taps, mostly on lines, 1153 gallons boiled, 130 L (34.34 gals) of delicious syrup made, on a 2x4 divided pan and base stack, 8” pipe, on a block arch that boiled at a rate of 13 gallons per hour.
    2024 - made 48 L, December to March, primarily over two fire bowls.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Corbeil, ON
    Posts
    174

    Default

    This fall I built a shack out of reclaimed materials and it cost me $8 to build. It's a real shack!

    Yesterday I tested a boil with water. It worked great from pumping from the 50 gallon storage barrel up to the head pail to gravity feed the sap pan. It did start raining inside.

    The next project is a hood to collect the steam and direct it outside to reduce the rain.
    2021 - Year one. 15 taps using 5/16" and drop tube into buckets. Homemade barrel evaporator with 2 steam trays. 4.7L syrup.
    2022. 32 taps. Added AUF.
    2023. 51 taps. Ditched the steam pans for an 18x22 flat pan.
    2024. 56 taps. Built a proper evaporator to fit the 18x22 flat pan and 1 steam pan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
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    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by aamyotte View Post
    This fall I built a shack out of reclaimed materials and it cost me $8 to build. It's a real shack!

    Yesterday I tested a boil with water. It worked great from pumping from the 50 gallon storage barrel up to the head pail to gravity feed the sap pan. It did start raining inside.

    The next project is a hood to collect the steam and direct it outside to reduce the rain.
    That is my unknown is how well the steam will exit. My 4 test boils this summer I had no roof or sides. I will have large openings at the top of all walls.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 109 L (28.8 gals) of delicious syrup made.
    DYI Vacuum Filter
    2023 - 170 taps, mostly on lines, 1153 gallons boiled, 130 L (34.34 gals) of delicious syrup made, on a 2x4 divided pan and base stack, 8” pipe, on a block arch that boiled at a rate of 13 gallons per hour.
    2024 - made 48 L, December to March, primarily over two fire bowls.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Corbeil, ON
    Posts
    174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Swingpure View Post
    That is my unknown is how well the steam will exit. My 4 test boils this summer I had no roof or sides. I will have large openings at the top of all walls.
    I would suggest you do a test boil once the roof is on. The last thing you want is water dripping in the pans adding dirt with it.
    2021 - Year one. 15 taps using 5/16" and drop tube into buckets. Homemade barrel evaporator with 2 steam trays. 4.7L syrup.
    2022. 32 taps. Added AUF.
    2023. 51 taps. Ditched the steam pans for an 18x22 flat pan.
    2024. 56 taps. Built a proper evaporator to fit the 18x22 flat pan and 1 steam pan.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    1,348

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    Quote Originally Posted by aamyotte View Post
    I would suggest you do a test boil once the roof is on. The last thing you want is water dripping in the pans adding dirt with it.
    That is a good idea, I did not think of that. My hope is that the openings at the top of all three walls, will be enough to let the steam out. I might also be able to play with the metal roof panel design to allow for some center ones to be removed on a nice day. (Not sure yet what I will do for the front wall)

    It will cost me some valuable wood, but it will be a good test for the fifth pan to see if the changes to the ramp and the baffles after the fourth test result in the fifth pan coming to a real boil.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 109 L (28.8 gals) of delicious syrup made.
    DYI Vacuum Filter
    2023 - 170 taps, mostly on lines, 1153 gallons boiled, 130 L (34.34 gals) of delicious syrup made, on a 2x4 divided pan and base stack, 8” pipe, on a block arch that boiled at a rate of 13 gallons per hour.
    2024 - made 48 L, December to March, primarily over two fire bowls.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Corbeil, ON
    Posts
    174

    Default

    You should know within a couple of hours of boiling if it will be a problem.
    Since you don't have your shelter put up yet try to make the roof pitch as steep as you can. That will help with the condensation following the roof slope and hopefully drip when it's not above the pans.
    Since you have power at your setup you can also setup a house fan and point it to the roof to help force the steam out or keep the condensation from accumulating to the point of forming drops.
    2021 - Year one. 15 taps using 5/16" and drop tube into buckets. Homemade barrel evaporator with 2 steam trays. 4.7L syrup.
    2022. 32 taps. Added AUF.
    2023. 51 taps. Ditched the steam pans for an 18x22 flat pan.
    2024. 56 taps. Built a proper evaporator to fit the 18x22 flat pan and 1 steam pan.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Corbeil, Ont
    Posts
    98

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    Both those ideas work great with still, no wind conditions. I learned the wet way that with a certain type of wind the steam likes to stay in the shack. My metal roof pitch is 6/12 which is nice for the snow to slide off. It is a lean to type roof with the southern side high and open all along the top and length of that wall. I had to build a second sub roof inside that guides the steam out between the outer roof and the inner. I have it sloped slightly and run an eve trough along to catch all the condensation and drain it out the back of the shack. Works great and a constant supply of distilled water for cleaning and drinking. Either way it is so much nicer to boil off while being out of the elements.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
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    Mine is also a lean to style. The walls are already pre cut so is I’ll have to stay with my 4/12 pitch. I will have 3 foot openings on the three sides, which I can adjust close if it helps with wind flow direction. Right now the front would be mostly wide open, but I can play with that. I could add a fan and could play with the roof panels.

    Today I finished moving wood from a pile that just had a poly top to a covered wood shed. There are 5 face cords of mixed wood in there, mostly wrist sized and I have a half of facecord of ironwood with poly on it.

    I also marked 13 new trees today, 9 of which can be double tapped for a total of 22 more taps. All that’s can drive my ATV and trailer beside. There is one more spot with five trees, two that can be double tapped for apoosible 7 more taps. Making the RO allowed me some more free time for collection.

    Not counting the last 5 trees, that will give me 105 taps, 75 on lines and 30 on buckets. (Hmmm, I better count my buckets, I might only have 26 buckets.)

    Edit: I have 36 buckets, so I am good. I do also have three other trees, one a double tap. So that would take me to 35 buckets. Combined with the 75 taps on line, that would make it 110 taps.
    Last edited by Swingpure; 02-07-2022 at 05:24 PM.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 109 L (28.8 gals) of delicious syrup made.
    DYI Vacuum Filter
    2023 - 170 taps, mostly on lines, 1153 gallons boiled, 130 L (34.34 gals) of delicious syrup made, on a 2x4 divided pan and base stack, 8” pipe, on a block arch that boiled at a rate of 13 gallons per hour.
    2024 - made 48 L, December to March, primarily over two fire bowls.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    1,348

    Default

    One other advantage of doing a fifth test boil, besides checking to see how the roof might drip and testing the fifth pan for boiling, is I am still thinking about doing two batches during one boil. The downside is ash rising into the other pans.

    I designed my evaporator so I can easily lift the pans, I want to see how that works in practice and if I have ash rising into the pans. I will have steam pan lids that I can place on three of the pans to help prevent that as well.

    I might find with a lesser boil time because of the RO, that I might not have to go for two batches.
    2022 - 5 pan block arch - 109 taps, 73 on 3/16 lines, 36 on drops into 5 gallon pails.
    930 gallons boiled, 109 L (28.8 gals) of delicious syrup made.
    DYI Vacuum Filter
    2023 - 170 taps, mostly on lines, 1153 gallons boiled, 130 L (34.34 gals) of delicious syrup made, on a 2x4 divided pan and base stack, 8” pipe, on a block arch that boiled at a rate of 13 gallons per hour.
    2024 - made 48 L, December to March, primarily over two fire bowls.

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