Monthly Archives February 2018

It was a nice warm day and decided to take the day to hit the ice and hitch a ride in an iceboat or two.  It happened to be two.  An iceboating friend Paul showed up with his vintage stern steerer and offered my wife and I a ride.  I've never taken a ride in a stern steerer and jumped at that chance!     Cat took a little video of the adventure with her phone: Of course it wasn't without a little excitement.  We did hit a gust and spun out and I got tossed out.  Just a small cut and bruise but no worse for the wear and I get to check off another box.  That was a…

I got a call today from an iceboating buddy who set up his stern steerer on the lake.  There was no wind sadly but the sails where up and she was a sight to see! A stern steerer was the original iceboat.  Ice Yachts they were called.  Built like, steered like, and sailed similar to the sailboats they mimicked.    They where big, difficult to travel with and hard to set up without a lot of help.  But they were fast.  All that sail area, combined with weight for stability meant they went fast.   They also had the ability to hold two or three people. So in the 1930's (1937 to be exact) a call went out through the…

Boiled about 12 gallons of sap concentrate at 6% last night and ended up with roughly .75 gallons of Fancy Grade (*ahem* Grade A, Golden Color and Delicate Taste) My new jars - pints and 1/2 pints in glass jar forms - should be arriving by truck today.  I'll then bottle the rest. The honey jar you ask?  That's my fair submission for this year.  So the interesting thing for judging maple syrup is that they put the maple syrup into honey jars.  It holds a pint of syrup and by doing this each maple syrup product can be evenly judged side by side to each other for color and clarity. Learning from some of the local old-timers that did…

So apparently the Maple Gods turned on the sap tap.  I now have 35 buckets and probably brought in 40 to 45 gallons of sap!   That's far too much sap for me to process at in my current situation.  I believe I was thinking about boiling nightly when I did my calculations and didn't realize how much effort that was going to be.  I did.  I just forgot.  Like a woman having her second child somehow forgetting how painful the first one was...   So here I am trying to figure out how to handle this.  Time to tweak the RO machine and aim for that 3:1 mixture.   I replaced the 5 micron filter and immediately noticed that…

Went around and put out 12 more taps with the help of a friend.  Moved a couple of old buckets from trees that were just not producing much sap, to trees out in the sun more and which were quickly producing sap the moment we tapped.   Total of 35 buckets out and collecting.  The prior day was far too cold for the sap to run well, plus a low pressure from the small snow storm we received.   Since I'm  posting this the following day, today is looking very promising and I will be collecting the sap tonight to run through the RO machine.  Will collect on Tuesday, run that though the RO and boil on Wednesday if all…

All the hard work of tapping trees, reverse osmosis, purchasing new pans and bottles all came down to today.  I hauled out my backyard cooking set up for it's first run.   On the left is the divided pan, specially built to fit on top of a two burner outdoor stove.  It has a custom built sap warmer on top.  On the right is the dual purpose finishing pan / bottling pan.   I hauled out about 12 gallons of sap concentrate at ~ 5% to 5.5% sugar.   I poured in the sap and started warming it up at 11:30 am.     Took a while, but finally at a roiling boil! Due to the burners in the middle,…

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