It has been awhile and I wanted to thank everyone who over the last couple years, has utilized the past blogposts for help with their own homesteading as well as reaching out with questions and advice! It has truly been a whirlwind of a few years with my wife Cassi and I welcoming a child into our lives. Hazel who is now 3 is full of curiosity, humor, love and even a little of dads stubborn work ethic! Projects slowed down a bit around the homestead but slowly but surely we are working our way back to a self sustainable lifestyle. Anyhow I don't want to get too personal or wordy to get things on the blog rolling once again, so on to maple syrup season 2020!
One new addition to the tool shed is this lovely sled from LL Bean that Hazel loves and sometimes Daddy finds useful for projects like this, its tapping time!
I think in all we tapped about 12 trees this season, and it started off great, but froze up quickly, then came on strong again two weeks later. It was a little touch and go but in the end we ended up with about 50 gallons of sap for boiling day!
Im always so grateful for the land in which our homestead inhabits, especially when the relationship seems to mutually beneficial!
Our rustic sap house, basically an iron grate spread across the firepit with two buffet pans from a restaurant supply shop. The great thing about sugaring is I think the first year I spent $150ish dollars on supplies and since then its cost nothing but time and energy to make at least a gallon of syrup for the homestead every year, this being our 4th season!
Having a good amount of wooded acreage on our homestead means wood is usually easy to acquire, especially in the Spring season when all the blow downs from the winter are dry and plentiful!
The boil takes a longtime with these methods, I think I got the fire started around 6:30am and by 10pm I had it reduced enough to move it inside onto our cookstove where I could finish it off and monitor it more closely!
After boiling it down to taste, I cold crash it in the fridge overnight which helps clarify the syrup as the floaties tend to drop to the bottom of the pot. I then use a piece of layered cheesecloth to line a fine screened colander for a final filtering. Bringing the syrup back to one last boil, we then checked the brix levels with a hydrometer to ensure our syrup is of the right sugar content and consistency!
After sanitizing some corks and bottles we fill them and cork them!
The final haul for this year:
2- 750ml bottles
6- 375ml bottles
Time to make some pancakes!
In reality we use it for much more than pancakes, in fact we use it instead of sugar for baking or ice cream making and one of Hazels favorite treats is roasted carrots with salt pepper and a drizzle of maple syrup! YUM.
Stay tuned as I resuscitate this blog back into proper form. Rather than just posting about homesteading though, be ready for music reviews, artistic musings and just general ranting and sharing as I navigate this new land of uncertainty and opportunity!