A friend of mine just sent me this little video. Though it seems a bit early for most but not for us.
We have a friend coming up this weekend to work in the bush with us, I hope we don’t work him too hard.
“Stoke up the fire, it’s maple syrup time!”
I think that the subject matter is very enlightening when it come to extracting sap from a maple tree. A very good seminar, but you be the judge.
flannel will never go out of style
July 8, 2011 | Categories: , | Tags: , , , , |
Well it is starting to get a bit colder these days, November is right around the corner and that means snow is not far away. I use to hate this time of year, the long winter was just around the corner and it seemed there was nothing to look forward to until July and August when you could finally go swimming again.
That was before I caught the maple syrup bug, now I look forward to winter because it means we are only a few months away from spring ( I know I am jumping the gun a bit).
It also means that the holidays are just around the corner which is a busy time for maple syrup gifts of the season. For now I am just waiting until the first snow before I start thinking of that.
Until then I am going to be thinking of having the operation dialed in.
When everything is running just right we call it being dialed in. The wood fire is perfect. The temperature of the concentrate is slowly rising. The flow into the evaporator is set just right to match the steam coming off the rolling boil . The temperature outside is in the magic zone. But best of all someone else is splitting firewood.
October 26, 2010 | Categories: , , | Tags: , , , , , |
Mike and I are very happy to announce that we have a new Maple Syrup Producing buddy. This is our 14’ x 4’ Lapierre / Waterloo / Smalls Evaporator. This is quite a step up from our little flat pan and Mike and I are very exited about getting it rigged up.
The reason it took so long to get this thing out of the truck were these stupid little wheel wells which sat about 4” off the bottom. They where a constant battle with all the equipment, let that be a lesson for renting a 26’ Uhaul.
We had a great time picking it up in Owen Sound, driving down to Tobermory and making the crossing to ManitoulinIsland on the fabled ferry Chi-Cheemaun.
Here is a little video of our first born, Cheers:
Thanks to Roger Garside for helping up get this as quickly as we did.
Song “St. Joe’s” by The Dave Chapman Relief Fund.
September 20, 2010 | Categories: , | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |
It was great to talk to some of the people in the neighborhood. When I was living up north I didn’t know that there was a community in Toronto, I always thought that people kept to themselves and were distant to each other. Dominic at Hair Wave was, I think, the first person to teach me how vibrant and friendly Toronto can be. It was sad to hear that he would be closing his doors only one week after the festival was finished, after being there for 31 years.
All in all it was a great time and it gave me a chance to talk Maple Syrup with everyone who wondered by.
August 4, 2010 | Categories: , , | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |
Jesse was a great big help this year in the Sugar bush. Mike and I were really happy to have him pull such a long haul. I think Mike was the happier one of the two of us as he had been living in the sugar shack night and day for almost two weeks before we showed up.
Running and evaporator efficiently is no small task, it may seem like nothing is happening but you have to keep things “dialed in” or you loose your fire, flood the pan or burn the syrup. There are also strange things that can happen when you least expect them. Check out this vid of Jesse dealing with something called a steam lock. This happens when the sap in the pre-heater boils causing the pressure to block the flow of sap.
May 5, 2010 | Categories: , | Tags: , , , , |
Happy syrup making to everyone. We are indeed making maple syrup this year! Our first batch that was pulled of turned out to be about 20L, not bad for about 3 days work. I have been pretty sick after getting back from the Island and when I finally was feeling better I had to get back to work in a big way.
I did get a chance to upload a few videos on to youtube before I started feeling under the weather. I think this particular video captures the essence of what maple syrup production is like, well at least when things start to break. Mike and I have been bumbling around with some of the new equipment as we can’t really test anything until the sap started to flow.
Here is a quick little video of what happens to an extractor pump when you put to much oil in it.
March 26, 2010 | Categories: , | Tags: , , , |
It has been a very productive weekend in the bush. We started a very detailed log book to record all the events both good and bad. It is going to take a while to get use to how what to record but It will help us with a lot of our planning and also writing these posts.
We started up the evaporator on Friday night. The pan that we are using is a deep flat pan, not a flue pan. Because I had the most experience with the evaporating I was the first to fire it up. I decided to run the pan with a 1/4” of liquid in it to start, needless to say I burnt the pan pretty bad and pretty quick.
That was not the only problem we had with the evaporator. We also are trying to fuel it with Bass wood. It was pretty damp and really did not burn all that well, because of this we have renamed it Ass wood.
Steam is also one of the big problems that we had to overcome. Our custom hood worked pretty good at channeling the steam but the real problem came from not having it at the right angle. It was blowing steam right into the faces of the operator rather than to the back of the pan an out of the shack. The hood also did not really come down far enough so we draped towels over it to keep the stream contained. We have it dialed in pretty good now.
More to come on how the bush is running and what happened over the weekend.
March 9, 2010 | Categories: , , | Tags: , , , |
I have had an amazing weekend up at the sugar bush. Mike has done so much work up there it blows my mind. When I arrived all the runs were completed, all the drops were in. We have a new count of 400 taps. I am incredibly happy.
That being said there was still a ton of stuff to complete in the sugar shack. You would not believe the hours we put in! Because I did not post anything all weekend I thought that I would put together a video that shows the whole processes we went through when building the sugar shack, enjoy.
This was the first year that I decided to check out the Royal winter fair held in Toronto. I would have never gone if it was not for my sister who was taking care of the Guelph booth at the show, thanks Sis. It gave me a chance to see some of the different farmers in Ontario and was a really interesting experience. I have never really been interested in farming growing up, I was always looking forward to getting out of the small town and into the big city. The Royal winter fair kind of was the best of both world.
Now I know that the winter fair was a months ago but I have not had a chance to get everything off the camera until last week. I also want to apologize for the shakiness of the camera and the strange viewing angles. It was pretty loud and I wanted to make sure I got the sound I needed. Anyway, now that I have built it up, please enjoy.
January 21, 2010 | Categories: , | Tags: , , , , |
Anyway I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who purchased maple syrup over the holidays It is really going to help this year. It really pumped me up for next Christmas. I guess I have a few different times of year to look forward to. Next year it would be great to have store front of some sort, I bet I could really make a go of it.
I also made a few batches of maple candy, I am 1 for 3 right now and I think I know what happened last time. I let the candy get way to cold before I put it in the mold. I have not yet recorded how to make maple candy on video yet as I don’t want to look completely inept at the process. We will wait until I can look really professional.
I have found the time to put together another little video from that last time I was up North. It is a quick little show of what our evaporator looks like and how it will work. It might look a bit weird because we have one pan stacked on top of another to keep it out of the way. I assure you It will do the job this season when the sap starts flowing. I hope that you enjoy it and have a safe and pleasant new year.
Recently I found an online video on how to make maple syrup eggnog. I seemed like a nice enough recipe but what really got me was the fact the presenter was using fake maple syrup.
I decided to dub over the real ingredients that she was using, enjoy.
Remember there is no substitute for real maple syrup!
December 7, 2009 | Categories: , | Tags: , , , , , |
Do you wonder why maple syrup is so expensive? Well the reason that it’s so expensive is because a great deal of energy goes into making it. Below is a video that shows exactly how much wood it takes when you fire boiler. We fire one side of the boiler at the time this way there’s minimal heat loss.
we put about that much wood in the archway every 15-20 minutes, that means that we are firing the boiler every 7-10 minutes. This is of course depending on the different types of what and how dry it is. This year was a bit of a disaster as we ran out of wood and had to spend some of the time burning some not so dry popular.
September 8, 2009 | Categories: , | Tags: , , , |
We will see if this spile will even work this year. I suspect if you are going to try new product that says it’s going to take more sap from the tree then a producer would tend to under tap. Most of the syrup produces that I’ve talked to basically baby their bush, if there is something that has the potential to take more sap out of the tree I’m sure it would be tried in moderation. I’m sure it was the same when they came out with a vacuum system. If it works for these innovators than I am sure it is going to catch on.
“designed to be an inexpensive bacteria free throw-away fitting to put in the tree for maple sugar makers looking for maximum production every year. This rugged extension features a female cup which will accept almost every 19/64 and 5/16 diameter spout on the market”
So will this new little device work, who’s to say? There is also another type of this spile that we are looking into for our bush, it is a stainless steel spile. Here’s a video of Bill Smith and Keith Brown discussing it.
August 27, 2009 | Categories: , , | Tags: , , , , , , |
Found a nice video on youtube. At the beginning of the video it looks like they are filming birch trees rather than sugar maples but you be the judge. I remember going to seeing Gorden Lightfoot in Orillia it was a great concert but I am not the biggest fan. Orillia was also a bit of a drag, we got into a bar fight with these guys we were hanging around with all night. They seems great at the time but when they had a few too may they went off. But I digress, enjoy.