St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Maple Syrup Batch 4

The sap yard looks like a mess with all the activity going on.  The sap shed walls are all made from windows given to me from a neighbor remodeling his house.  The walls are doors! Notice last night's snow is almost all gone here. We wore it out!

Water boils at 210 today, so the syrup will be done at 217.  We take it off at 216 and finish it inside.  Note the door wall.  The pan sits on a cattle watering tank firebox.  We spare no expense to have a high tech modern facility!

The fire box is a cattle watering tank with a barrel stove kit door and stove pipe bracket.  We burn pine slabs.  

Scott scrubs the sugar foam off the edges of the pan between batches. 

The creosote/charcoal is scraped off the bottom of the pan to allow better heat transfer.  The pan is 60 years old, built by Clayton's Hardware in St Croix Falls and is fitted with buggy wheel iron tire rims to strengthen the sides.  We had to buy a car as the buggy wheels fell apart without the rims ;-)

What is left of 10 full cords of pine slabs from Cummings Lumber in Frederic WI.  They burn fast and hot. 

Just completed the 4th batch of maple syrup and put the 12 gallons in 5 gallon pails to wait for finishing inside.  Tastes mild, light colored and very good quality.   Have another 400 gallons of sap to cook down plus what ever is in the woods since yesterday's collection.   We will collect tomorrow after the cold night so we can throw out the ice in the buckets. 

Looks like we will pull up the taps on Saturday with the temps supposed to be in the 60s and maybe higher.  It has been a good season here this year.  We expect the sap to run several more days, so probably may get 2 more batches to cook yet. 

After each batch there is cleanup--clean the pan and scrape the creosote/charcoal buildup off the bottom.  

Rode over to Anderson Maple today with Dave and Marcie to get some bottles.  Just bought 16 oz round ones -- 120 of them, enough to bottle 15 gallons of syrup.  We have some smaller bottles on hand and a few larger ones too.  Stopped in Luck and had goulash for lunch at the Main Dish.  

I delivered 10 of my maple syruping history books to Andersons and got $60 in credit for my $100 bill for the bottles.  He had sold 9 of the 10 from last year. I wrote the book and got them printed up and make a little profit too.  

Margo doesn't know it, but we are thinking of bringing the 25 gallons of syrup we expect to have done to Pine Island so she can do the final boiling, filtering and bottling!   She needs something to do to exercise her arm and get it working good again.