Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sweet Reward

Finally, the home stretch.  Finishing off the syrup. 
Once the sugar water is concentrated, it's moved to a large pan over a propane burner.  There's it's cooked over a slow heat until the hydrometer floats.  This shows that there is a consistent amount of sugar.  You can just guess at this stage, but the hydrometer ensures that the syrup is the same thickness and sweetness every time.
Finishing off over the propane
Measuring with the hydrometer.  The glass valve floats when it's the right sugar level.

Relaxing in front of the fire.

My sister made this sign for my Pap sometime in the 80s - it's still there.

When it's ready, the syrup is filtered through a wool and cloth filter and then poured into jugs to seal. 

Pouring the finished syrup into the jug.

Finally, we eat!  I'm always amazed that for a little bit of effort (and a lot of time) we're able to take what nature gives and turn it into something sweet to enjoy all year.  It's one of the world's little miracles. 

The syrup is sweet, but all of the time spent with family, and sharing this tradition with my children and my father is the sweetest reward of all.  I hope that we continue to make syrup at the farm for a long, long, long time to come.  It's too sweet of a tradition to ever stop.

Banana Berry Nutmeg Pancakes

2 c. flour
2 c. milk or water
1 T baking powder
2 T sugar
1 t. salt
1 mashed banana
1 egg
1 t. nutmeg
blackberries or blueberries

Mix and cook as usual.
Banana Berry Nutmeg Pancakes with sausage biscuits and gravy  - Yum!

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