It is the sweetest time of year.... time for MAPLE SYRUP!! The buckets are all hung on the trees... I think we have 42 buckets hung and some of the biggest trees have two taps in them!
We've talked about using piping, but I think we really like the beauty of buckets! The sap isn't flowing the best that we've seen, but we have already bottled up 8 gallons of syrup! After straining the sap, it gets poured into the white 55 gallon drum and then is slowly fed into the pan to the evaporator. This is the longest part of the whole process!! Did you know it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup?! Yup, that is true... that is why the price of pure maple syrup is sooo expensive in the stores! Pete and the boys are the ones who pretty much handle this part of the job! They feed the wood fire and keep a watchful eye on the pan to make sure it is boiling! Then, when the syrup turns a golden color and boils just right (we can tell by looking now) it has hit that special temperature of 220* and is now offically syrup!!
It is time to take it off the fire and strain it once again and then bring it up to me!! I pour it into my kettles and bring it back to a boil at 220* on the kitchen stove. Then I pour it into the plastic bottles and seal them! Lots of work... lots of fun.... LOTS OF YUM!