Friday, March 13, 2015

It's Tappin' Time!

Suddenly it's here - sugaring season!  One of the highlights of spring for me is hanging out in our warm, cozy sugar shack watching the fire burn under the boiler and hearing the hum of the sap cooking down into maple syrup.  I think it's a highlight for our whole family. ;)  We will find any reason we can to be out there - sometimes we even have meals out there. :)

Technically our sap is Boxelder sap.  The Boxelder tree is in the maple family, and the syrup tastes very similar to maple syrup.  The sugar content of Boxelder sap is not quite a high as maple, so it takes more sap to make a gallon of syrup.  We have about 140 taps out, and on a good day we will collect about 50 gallons of sap.  For us, that equals about a gallon of syrup.

We share sugaring season with a few other families.  They collect from their trees, bring the sap here, and then we cook it all down together.  Last year we had a great run!  For a time we had the evaporator going non-stop so that we could get all the sap cooked down quickly before it spoiled.  We had people doing shifts through the night!  It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. :)  And we ended the season with a root cellar stocked with many gallons of syrup.  Yes, we were spoiled this past winter.  We used our syrup liberally - in smoothies, yogurt, fudge, coffee and anything else we could think of. :)

Ben and Jonny tapping trees with Rosie and Miska

Ben drilling

Jonny putting the taps in

Miska.  Isn't she pretty?

Rosie.  She will be having puppies in about 2 months!
Ben and Miska.  They sure love each other! :)

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