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Thread: Backyard Syrup Enthusiasts 2021

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Avon, Maine
    Posts
    6

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    Tapping tomorrow, never mind that trees are frozen. Hoping for some Sunday rewards.




    2019 7 taps < 1 gallon
    2020 50 taps 11 gallons
    2021 100 taps
    2 x 4 WF Mason Evaporator
    Sugar maples, with a few reds
    Last edited by Drop-In-The-Bucket Farm; 02-25-2021 at 03:03 PM.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
    Posts
    145

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    Finally got all the taps in today. I'm trying something different this year. I tapped 50 trees, some of which I haven't done to date but have wanted to try. I only need/can manage 43. Since l have a number of trees that seem to produce a sap with a lower sugar content than I would like to see (each season) I am going to use the top 43 trees and discard those with the lowest sugar. Next season I can tap the selected 43 trees and skip the low producers. Once the flow kicks in I've got to go from tree to tree with my refractometer and figure out who's who. For the losers, I plan on keeping the spile in but plugging the outlet hole so the tree gets to keep its sap and not waste it on the ground. I quickly tested a small cross section yesterday and the ssc ranged from 1.8 to 3.8. I'll see how this works out.

    I did collect 14 gallons over two tapping days so 41 more and a boil is on. Weather looks good next week to get the ball rolling!

    Good luck Drop-in-the-bucket and welcome to Mapletrader. I didn't see a lot of frozen trees here, but I'm quite a bit further south.
    Last edited by Mvhomesteader; 02-26-2021 at 06:55 PM.
    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
    2020 40 taps, 13.7 gallons
    2021 62 taps 13.5 gallons
    Mostly sugar maples, a few reds on 200 year old homestead

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Avon, Maine
    Posts
    6

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    Most of my trees are deep forest and pine-shaded. Seems to take forever for enough thaw for sap to run, and yesterday was no exception. I'm guessing your trees are mostly in the sun?

    2019 7 taps < 1 gallon
    2020 50 taps 11 gallons
    2021 100 taps
    2 x 4 WF Mason Evaporator
    Sugar maples, with a few reds
    ch

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Drop-In-The-Bucket Farm View Post
    Most of my trees are deep forest and pine-shaded. Seems to take forever for enough thaw for sap to run, and yesterday was no exception. I'm guessing your trees are mostly in the sun?
    It's a combo, probably 50/50, though the "bigger" trees are in the sun along a rock wall /field or near the road. I recently removed a 20" and several smaller pines in one area to reduce shade on a group of 12" sugars. I'd love to get rid of all the pines, but there are way too many. Maybe I should get a sawmill I think this week's weather will open things up a bit, except for Tuesday which is wicked cold. Weird actually.
    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
    2020 40 taps, 13.7 gallons
    2021 62 taps 13.5 gallons
    Mostly sugar maples, a few reds on 200 year old homestead

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    20

    Default

    I had my first boil yesterday in Gorham. Collected 27 gallons over the past few days, RO-ed about 20 gallons and pull 10 of water out, boiled the remaining 10 but had to call it quits before finishing to syrup to play with the kids. Froze about 3/4 gallon of the concentrate (~40% sugar) and will finish it some other time. It was exhilarating to process as much in one day as I did over many days last year! Man is the RO amazing...

    I also learned some lessons:
    1) Make sure the evaporator is fully built before the ground freezes. I had a 1 pan setup and expanded to a 2 pan. I had some leveling to do with a pick axe on frozen ground and that was 0 fun. Not the way I wanted to start the day, nor was it the way my back wanted to start the day.
    2) It's more fun with other people! Had 4 guys over to watch the boil and collect sap. Good times. Alone by self is fun for 15 minutes for me.
    3) I need to keep a timer on my RO; I almost overflowed the 5 gallon concentrate bucket! Or better yet, get fancy and get a switch installed for auto shut off..
    2021 Spring- 70 red maples, 2 sugar maples, homemade RO, 2 pan cinderblock evaporator.
    2020 Fall - tapped 8 "waste" maples to practice on evaporator for spring '21. 1/4 gallon of syrup.
    2020 Spring - 8 taps on droplines into buckets, stove top boil, < 1 gallon syrup

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Glad to hear your first boil was successful Canterbury Maple. Your lessons learned are interesting. I also have learned that you should remove ash from the arch at the end of the season---don't leave it all year to turn into a frozen mass come next winter. I have to light a "pre-fire" to melt the ash so it can be removed before my first boil.

    Speaking of which, I've collected 45 gallons since as of today, 30 over the past 2 days. Some trees are letting it loose, some still waking up. 10 more gallons and I will boil, so likely this weekend. No sap tomorrow I'm sure, but maybe Wednesday. The weather is odd-several days next week are 48 with 35 at night. We go from blistering co!d to balmy warm. The sap will sure run though. I bet that will be a stretch of all day and night.
    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
    2020 40 taps, 13.7 gallons
    2021 62 taps 13.5 gallons
    Mostly sugar maples, a few reds on 200 year old homestead

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
    Posts
    145

    Default

    First boil today to clean out the 48 gallons accumulated over the past weekish, and to get a clean slate as this upcoming week looks promising.

    I boiled 48.5 gallons and got a gallon, pint, and half pint, for a ssc of 2.5%. That is pretty close to last years start, though slightly less. If I remember right the first boil last year was 2.6%. I'll be testing individual trees this week and perhaps pull "under performers" (those <2%) so they don't weight the average down.

    One little experiment I tried was testing the ssc of sap ice. I had a few buckets where there was quite a frozen piece-2 gallons worth of ice chunks in total. Using the refractometer the ssc of the melted ice was 0.3. Not worth the time to boil it down so I chucked it. With that in mind, I will in the future chuck ice rather than melt it down to boil. I've got plenty of wood to burn, but time can be at a premium.

    With what I hope to see this week for a run, I expect to be boiling again perhaps Friday and Sunday. Cross your fingers.
    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
    2020 40 taps, 13.7 gallons
    2021 62 taps 13.5 gallons
    Mostly sugar maples, a few reds on 200 year old homestead

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Avon, Maine
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Boiled 40 gallons yesterday that had been collected before the big wind on 03-02. Had to melt buckets inside to get the ice out. Yield was less than a gallon of syrup, so the sugar content was low. Hoping for better results this week, but still waiting for a cycle of good temperatures.


    2019 7 taps < 1 gallon
    2020 50 taps 11 gallons
    2021 100 taps
    2 x 4 WF Mason Evaporator
    Sugar maples, with a few reds
    ch

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Norway, Maine
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Boiled down 65 gallons of sap this weekend for my first time ever boil...was quite nervous that it wouldn't go as expected, and surprisingly went off without a hitch.

    Here are my lessons learned for the week:

    Negatives
    1. Sap was completely frozen from last week so had to add in chunks at a time, killed the boil in the 3rd divider on my 2x4 but not the others.
    2. Back part of my pan did not boil hard, I chalk it up to adding the ice sap, and it just couldn't get hot enough to boil. However, I may look to adding a few bricks near the back of the pan, to force it up a couple of more inches.
    3. I had pretty inconsistent firings, not like I should, It would get low, and then i would fully reload it. Need to reload it better.
    4. I also noticed that my boil went to next to zero without using the blower, although it ate wood like no ones business. I chalk this up to it being starved of oxygen and a short stovepipe.
    5. My arch door (a barrel stove kit) will need to be insulated, it was so ridiculously hot I could feel the heat easily from 5 feet away, must be losing a lot of heat.

    Positives
    1. Even with frozen sap I maintained a 12 gph evaporation rate easily, I didn't push her all that hard and constantly was boiling at 3 inches rather than 2.
    2. Evaporator help up well, uninsulated back section behind the pan got hot, but I could for a quick second put my hand on the side of the firebox
    3. Slight gradient was built, although I still have many gallons of sap before I am able to draw off.
    4. The sap is going to come in droves this week as I track the weather. Will have to go up Mid-Week for a boil session late into the night after work.

    May you sap lines be filled and your evaporation rate high,

    -T
    Tucker Adams

    2022 - Planned Sugar House Build from Old Timbers (Stay Tuned!)
    2021 - 64 Taps in Norway, ME (mostly on 3/16 tubing) - 16 gallons with a 225 gallon sap donation.
    2x4 AOF/AUF Oil Drum Evaporator with Badgerland Pan
    1994 Kawasaki Mule Sap Hauler, 1993 Artic Cat Snowmobile when snow is too deep.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Mount Vernon Maine
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckeradams2012 View Post
    Boiled down 65 gallons of sap this weekend for my first time ever boil...was quite nervous that it wouldn't go as expected, and surprisingly went off without a hitch.
    How much syrup did you get? I comparing ssc's in different areas.
    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
    2020 40 taps, 13.7 gallons
    2021 62 taps 13.5 gallons
    Mostly sugar maples, a few reds on 200 year old homestead

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