Hi everyone. Happy Spring to you! ❤
It's already once again time for T over at Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog .
Last week we a had a huge snowstorm on T day. We measured around 12 inches/ 30 cm of snow at my house, but the news reported that my town had 22 inches/56 cm. I’m not sure where in my town the weather gauge is but there’s definitely a variation. (I do know how to measure, and we didn't get 22 inches.) I'm personally not a fan of big storms in March because I want it to be more like spring, but they aren't uncommon to have. Luckily, with more hours of daylight and warmer temperatures the snow is melting away. Fast! 😀
This past weekend was Maple Syrup Weekend in New Hampshire, a time for people to visit sugar houses during the maple syrup making season. I didn't visit any sugar shacks this past weekend, but I did 2 weekends ago. For T day let me share that fun adventure.
You might remember from last year how my daughter's in-laws have a sugar shack. They tap maple sugar trees to make maple syrup. My husband and I were invited to spend a day with them in the sugar shack. I like doing this because maple syrup season is a sign of the coming spring, and since it is such a traditional thing to do, it makes me feel part of the history of my area.
One way to collect sap is with a traditional sap bucket. If you do this, when the sap is running, you need to visit the trees daily to empty the sap bucket into another container. Then you bring that larger container with the sap back to be processed. If you keep the sap cold (like around the freezing point), you can store it a week before processing, but if it's any warmer you have to process it quickly.
Instead of buckets, people with bigger sugar houses often use sap lines, which transports the sap through gravity feed back to a large container near the sugar house or to a place where the sap maker can go and collect the sap.
The lines are certainly not very pretty, but depending on the size of tapping area and how much sap is running, you can have hundreds if not thousands of gallons of sap a day.
It's always exciting to see the buckets and tap lines come out because it means (minus big March snowstorms) that spring is on its way.
I've shown photos of maple syrup making before, but this year my daughter's in-laws have upgraded and have started to make syrup to sell. Last year when we went they had a small evaporator, but they have now switched it out for this larger one. You can see all the steam coming off as they boil down the sap (to get rid of the excess water) in the open silver pans on top. It smells great 😀. And to keep the sap boiling you have to feed the woodstove (that you can see in the front) almost constantly so it stays red hot.
This batch was ready to drain out of the evaporator. It took more than 1 kettle to do that.
Then they needed to check the sugar content as well as the density to be sure it was not too watery or not too thick.
After that, once the syrup cooled, it needed to be filtered in their new filtering unit.(The unit is not actively filtering when I took this photo.)
These next 2 photos shows all the bottles of syrup they made the day before we came out to visit. (And a kitchen roll/paper towel roll too-smile.)
They've been making about 25 gallons a day, and all these bottles are quart bottles. For those of you not familiar with our crazy system of measurement, it takes 4 quarts to make a gallon. Maple syruping season is very busy for syrup makers, and you really can't control when the sap starts to run and when it stops running. That means you have to boil down sap daily while you are still getting sap.
And I did remember to get a drink photo for T this week. You can see my beer and my daughter's can of hard cider on the picnic table on the outside of the sugar shack.
We had a late winter outdoor bbq that day with hot dogs, hamburgers and salad. Boy did it all taste yummy, even if we still needed to wear our winter coats while we ate.
It was a nice visit, and I'm glad my daughter married into such a nice family. And it's nice that we can all get together sometimes too. So many nices, eh?
Have a great T day and week ahead. And as always, thanks for visiting my blog.