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Finishing up the Syrup

March 2nd, 2018

Sugaring season was a bit early this year, thankfully I got out and tapped the trees as soon as I did, it may not last much longer. The good thing about working from home is that I can be boiling sap while I work, the bad thing is that sometimes I get into a project and completely forget to check the sap every hour.

In the age of cellphones, I can now set my phone timer to remind me to check. As the syrup near completion, I check it every 15 minutes.

As it gets really close, it needs constant monitoring. Yesterday, I finished off 4 liters of syrup. That should be just enough for us for the year, we use a lot of maple syrup in cooking. If the sap keeps flowing, I’ll make more syrup for gifting and bartering.

What’s your favorite natural sweetener?

Tap, Tap, Tap…

February 15th, 2018

When we lived in Ohio, Valentine’s day was always the day we tapped our maple trees. We’d put in one tap and wait until it started flowing, then we’d tap the rest of the maple trees. Typically, I tap the trees in late February here in Maine. When Mr Chiots looked at the forecast, he said it looked like perfect sugaring weather.

I decided to tap one tree to monitor the flow, as soon as I started drilling the hole the sap started flowing.

I ended up putting in 8 taps yesterday, all but one was flowing. I may add more tomorrow, but I may stop at 8. Coincidentally, Valentine’s Day is also the day I fertilize all my indoor citrus trees as well. I find setting major holidays as dates to do certain chores works very well for me.

Is maple syrup produced in your area? Do you have set holidays when you do certain chores?

If you’d like to read more about small scale maple sugaring, I highly recommend this book: Backyard Sugarin’: A Complete How-To Guide (4th Edition)

Maple Sap Tea

February 22nd, 2017

It’s sugaring season here in Maine, I tapped our large sugar maple on Monday morning and the sap started flowing immediately. This year I’m only tapping this tree, it’s large, thus it accommodates three taps. That will produce over a gallon of syrup though, enough to get us through the year.

One of the delicious side benefits of sugaring season, is that I make my tea throughout the day with hot sap from the kettle on the stove. It imparts the slightest bit of sweetness, just enough to make the tea exceptionally great. I’m looking forward to my maple sap chai later this morning!

Do you live in an area where maple trees are tapped?

Friday Favorite: Maple Tapping

February 19th, 2016

AH, I think every year at this time I talk about how much I LOVE sugaring the maple trees. Yesterday I went out to tap one tree, I do this each year to monitor sap flow. When the sap starts flowing from that tap, I tap the remaining trees. The sap started flowing right away, so I tapped 8 more trees. I’ll probably add a few more taps today.
maple sap 3
I really love sugaring because it gets me out in the garden during a time when I wouldn’t be out there. It makes me go outside and I get a ton of exercise, it really helps get me in shape for the upcoming gardening season. I also love that it’s such a simple process, really, you just gather sap and boil it down, it’s really that simple. When you drizzle homemade maple syrup on your pancakes in the morning there’s nothing quite like it, it somehow tastes sweeter.

Do you live in an area where they tap trees?

Moving On…

April 15th, 2014

Sugaring season is finally finished, my last batch of syrup was bottled up on Sunday.  I thought the season was over the previous weekend, but the trees decided to flow like crazy for one more day this past Thursday.  After collected 25 gallons of sap I added another half gallon to my finally tally, which was a pint or two over five gallons.
maple sugaring
On Saturday I gathered up all of my jars and removed all the spiles from the trees. I hadn’t counted when I put them, so I counted as I washed. 42 taps were put in probably about 35 trees. That’s a lot of jars to wash!
so long sugaring 1
so long sugaring 2
so long sugaring
One of things I love about sugaring is watching how the syrup changes color throughout the season. We’ve noticed that the first batch is always dark and the second is always light. Third and fourth batches area always dark as well. Such an interesting process to watch. Next year I’m hoping to tap a few birch trees as well, this year I just didn’t have the energy to content collecting and boiling sap.

Do you like light or dark maple syrup?

Seeds and Sundries
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Berkey Water Filter

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.