Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sugarin' Time

There are many things to love about spring on the farm, but the two most enjoyable events (for me) would have to be seeing all the baby animals be born and making boxelder syrup. I love the smell of the wood stove out on the back patio and the reason for getting out in the cool spring air - collecting sap!

Sugaring is definitely a family event. It starts out by the taps getting pounded in the trees and the buckets getting hung up. Mike and the boys usually handle this job, although Emily enjoys it as well.

Then once the sap starts flowing, it needs to be collected and dumped into the barrel. Brandon does a lot of the collecting with some help from the rest of us.

Mike and the boys maintain their incredible hulk-look by chopping firewood every day during syruping season. :)

Keeping the sap cookin' is an intense job that Mike does well. He manages the fire, making sure the syrup doesn't stop boiling, boil over, or get too low.....usually 24/7! And when Mike is gone during the day, I manage the fire.

Once it's time to pour off the syrup and finish it inside, Mike gets busy with his hydrometer, measuring the sugar content and telling me when to get my jars ready for canning. Mike and I work together canning the syrup.

Of course the most enjoyable part about making syrup is eating it! That is a job we all do well! :)

In order to have a good run, the weather must cooperate. Having cold nights (below freezing) and warm days (in the 40's or low 50's), makes for the best run. Last year we collected about 500 gallons of sap and ended up with about 12 gallons of syrup. This year the weather has not been cooperating as much. It's been too warm. So far we have gotten about 5 gallons of syrup. Hopefully we will get a few more days of cool weather. Next week it is supposed to be in the 70's, so the run will likely be over soon. :( Life on the farm is never predictable. :)

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