2017 Season

*Incredible warm season! 60 degrees from 2/17-2/21.

2/12 – Tapped first trees of season (9 taps placed). Earliest season we’ve ever had, and same with others I’ve talked to! 2 weeks earlier than last year which was ~3 weeks early than the previous.

2/17 – ~15 gallons collected, stored on the north side of the house.

2/18 – Evaporated 15 gallons (was probably 13) of sap to make 3 pints (1:40) of syrup. Really nice light amber color. Evaporator was running at about 2 gallons per hour, very disappointing performance. The best approach was to open the front door and dampen the chimney slightly so the gasses from the hot coals that bunched up toward the rear escaped out the front thus exposing more pan to boiling temperatures. Have decided to rebuild the concrete block evaporator to fit the pan so it can rest inside and be fully exposed to the maximum heat.

2/19 – Rebuilt concrete block evaporator. Worked much better. 5.3 gal/hr. However, very smoky. Evaporated 19 gallons and finished 5 pints of syrup (1:30).

Generally lower sap production on trees. Expected much more with the warm season. Only 34 gallons so far and trees have slowed way down since a week ago.

2/26 – big cool down. Another 30 gals collected this week.

3/4 – evaporated 30 gals, took 7 hrs but was starting from frozen ice!  Made almost 1 gal 7.5 pints (1:32). Lots of smoke, need to build a door.

3/5-7 – 40 gals collected. Big cool down again.

3/11 – evaporated 35 gal. Gave 5 away. Had to bring buckets inside the day before so I wasn’t chiseling sap again. Took about 8 hours (4.4gal/hr) but syrup was finished when I brought it in. Made 10 pints (1:28) but j last jar shattered when I poured the syrup in.

3/15 – Temps stayed below freezing for 5 more days. Expecting another run this weekend.

3/16-20 – 53 gallons collected

3/20 – Evaporated 42 gallons, gave 10 away. Took 7.5 hrs (5.3gal/hr). Another 60 mins on stove. Made 9.75 pints (1:34) . Pulled taps, end of season (end of energy).

Season Totals:

  • Sap: 157 gals
  • Syrup: 4.4 gals

Possible upgrades to steel stove for next year:

  • drop-in for evaporator pan
  • extrude firewood loader about 1-2ft
  • firebrick liner inside
  • firegrate 12-14 inches below bottom of pan
  • warming pan with spigot

2016 Season

2/21 – Tapped first 3 trees of season. No sap yet.

2/23 – Sap has started flowing. Added two buckets/hoses.

2/27 – Collected 5 gal.

3/4 – Collected 10 gal. Lots of trouble with drippage outside the hose, off the bottom of the tap. Need better fitting taps for hoses.

3/6 – Collected 10 gal. Tapped additional tree (using 3/8″-3/8″ plastic hose connector. Great, not perfect).

3/8 – Collected 5 gal.

3/9 – collected 10 gal.

3/11 – end of season! collected 27 gal. first evaporation. Very slow going, wasted 5 gal. Inefficient build, sides of pan too exposed. Damper with open door works well to evenly distribute heat. Keeping at 700 for long stretches. Charcoal helps too but mainly need heat source closer to bottom of pan and sides covered/heated. Evaporated 30 wasted 5.

3/12 – collected 6? evaporated 20.

3/14 – Evaporated 18.

3/19 – Finished 1.25 gal.

2015 Season

3/6 – Tapped first tree of season.

3/7 – Drilled 10 more trees but only put 2 other taps in the biggest trees. No sap in any of the trees yet.

3/9 – First tree started dripping ~ noon. (big one in east grove) Huge warm spell this week, into the 60’s.

3/10 – Two more trees came online (east grove)

3/11 – Two more taps on one tree (east grove)  came online. Bags about 1/2 full on first tree (both taps). Emptied first two bags = 5 gal. 

3/12 – Tapped a new tree behind pole bldg, gushed immediately from two spouts. Still nothing from west grove.

3/13 – Collected 10 gal. First tree in West Grove (kitchen window) came online.

3/14 – [Collected 6 gal] First batch on our new evaporator, works AMAZINGLY well, so much better than concrete block mish-mash. Started fire 8:30am. Running about 3 gal/hr including time to warm up from cold. Finished at 4PM. Could have been faster but didn’t keep the fire hot enough the whole time. Also a damper would significantly increase the efficiency (not). About 21 gallons total.

3/15-3/20 – Collected 18 gal (Brenton). Lost ~4 gal due to bag falling. Two new trees online (EG and biggest in WG).

3/21 – Collected 4 gal. Two new trees came online + second tap on big tree in WG. Evaporated second batch (9am – 5pm), 22 gal.

3/22 – [Collected 10 gal] Finished sap, 43 gallons reduced to 1.5 gal (3 pint jars, 18 half-pints). HEAVY SNOW! 12-14 inches fell over 24 hrs. Could be a long season now. 2 new trees came online (EG). No more taps (14 trees tapped).

3/24 – S-U-G-A-R SNOW!! Collected 32 gallons. All trees producing, even untapped ones.

3/25 – Collected 21.5 gallons. Detected buddy sap (tastes earthy), pulled all bags and taps. End of season (last batch might be thrown out).

Season Sap Total: 106.5 gal

3/27 – Evaporated 10 gallons (from 3/22). Stored for finishing later.

3/28 – Finished, bottled 1.5 pints (a lot was spilled while boiling, up to 1 pint). Added damper to evaporator. Started evaporating another 10.5 gallons from 3/24 run.

3/29 – Evaporated 10.5 gallons. Combined from yesterday, finished 21 gallons. bottled 4.5 pints (small amount boiled over, could be why 1:37 ratio)

3/31 – Evaporated 32.5 gallons. Disappointing evap rate: ~2.4 gal per hour even with firebrick.

4/4 -Finished last of syrup. 10.5 gal reduced to 2.4 pints (1:35) and 32.5 gal to 6 pints (1:43). Latest sap had the worst ratio, perhaps sugar content decreases later in the season?

Season Syrup Total: 3.4 gal (actual 3.3, lost pint) – 1:31 overall ratio

Evaporator mods for next year:

  • Firebrick whole inside – 9 on each side, 6 on back
  • Cement block outside around all sides (~5 high)
  • Test out baffles again
  • Warming pan: Possible to open ledge on chimney for fire to pass against bottom of warming pan then up through the flue?
  • Auto feeder/drip system
  • COAL

 

2014 Season

3/12 – Tapped first 2 trees of season.

3/19 – Noticed first sap run. Stopped during weekend cool down.

3/22 – Tree Tapping Party! Tapped 7 trees more with friends, family.

3/29 – Collected 7 gallons of sap. Beautiful sunny Saturday, 45 degrees. ~62 tomorrow!

3/30 – 2.5 gallons – Sap slowed as it got warmer

3/31 – 4 gallons – very slow but steady. 60 degrees again.

4/2 – 4 gallons. Running good again.

4/3 – 7.5 gallons.

4/4 – Snowed overnight about 4 inches.

4/5 – Away on vacation, neighbor called to say they used up all 5 spare buckets! 25 gallons! Going to buy another 5 buckets. 50 degrees.

4/7 – Neighbor collected 15 gallons (could be buddy). Trees slowed down.

4/9 – Red buds visible. Season is over. Collecting bags tomorrow.

Season Sap Total: 65 gal

4/11 – Built evaporator. Boiled down first 15 gallons of sap ~3.5 hrs.

4/13 – Evaporated 20 gallons, ruined that last 5 gallon batch (cooked it to char), so net 15 gallons ~ 4 hours

4/15 – 15 gallons ~5 hours (too cold?)

4/18 – last 15 gallons ~ 3 hours from setting pans out (5 gal per hour). Finished and bottled 1/2 gallon (9 half-pints).

5/7 – Finished and bottled the last batch of syrup. 26 half pints = 1.6 gallons.

Season Syrup Total: 2.2 gal, 35 jars – 1:30 overall ratio