Well it's sugaring time again and the sap is flowing! Our buckets went up last weekend and we just finished boiling off our first half gallon of the sweet stuff. The kids have been asking for taste after taste of the thick, amber liquid that has put us all into sugar shock. I have quite the sweet tooth so this time of year is certainly a favorite and I can't wait to have pancakes!
We started tapping the trees and making our own syrup two years ago. We liked it so much that this year we retured our borrowed buckets and taps and headed to Bascom Maple Farms to find some of our own. We were surprised by the selection of buckets, taps, lines, and evaporators - an absolute haven for the amateur or experienced maple producer! We found some great used buckets, lids and taps and even eyed the evaporators for the future.
Our boiling set-up is rudimentary at best but it works. Chris came up with a great addition last year, a pre-boiler. He placed a ten gallon keg with heat underneath up above the boiling pot. The sap in the keg heats up and slowly drips into the pot below through a pipe with a shut-off valve, significantly cutting down on boiling time and fuel consumption.
The boys and I look forward to collecting the sap everyday and waiting for the sweet, intoxicating maple aroma to permeate the cool, early spring air. Who knows? Maybe someday we will revive the sugar shack in the woods but until then we will be savoring every last drop of the few gallons that we can lovingly make here in the backyard, pouring it on everything from pancakes to pork!