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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    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
    Posts
    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
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    1,348

    Default

    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

    Default

    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
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    1,348

    Default

    If I have a layer of plywood below the metal roof immediately above the evaporator,, would the steam still form droplets and drip almost as much as the metal roof? There would not be any continuous airspace between the metal roof and the plywood.
    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Corbeil, ON
    Posts
    174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Swingpure View Post
    If I have a layer of plywood below the metal roof immediately above the evaporator,, would the steam still form droplets and drip almost as much as the metal roof? There would not be any continuous airspace between the metal roof and the plywood.
    The plywood will certainly help since it will be 'warmer' than the steel and will not condense as easily.
    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Location
    Parry Sound Area, Ontario
    Posts
    1,348

    Default

    -30° C (-22° F) this morning, but this should be the last of the real cold mornings.

    Yesterday on the 14 day forecast the high for Feb 27 was 0° C (32° F) and I was hoping that Feb 28 today would be above freezing, but both now show as -7° as a high. I am sure this will change 20 times between now and then.

    When the time does get close to tapping, there is lots of work still to do.

    https://share.icloud.com/photos/057B...cMEeeJ7bgKwnxg
    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

    Interesting DYI vacuum filter where the vacuum fitting comes from above.

    https://youtu.be/efTNStdVV1w
    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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