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

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tappin' Time - Part III

Once you bring all the sugar water back to the sugar house it's time to boil it down. Dad pumps the sugar water out of the tank on the tractor, and into the holding tank in the sugar camp. 
The amount of water is measured in the tank to approximate the number of gallons collected.  On this day we collected 90 gallons of sugar water.
Priming the Pump

Then the sugar water gets pumped into the evaporator pans. It's important to make sure that the temperature in the evaporating pans doesn't drop below 200, and that the water level doesn't drop below two inches in the pan.
Evaporator Pan

As the water boils down it gets sweeter and sweeter.  One of the best parts of sugaring season is drinking the sweet sugar water right from the evaporating pan.  It's hard to wait for the sugar water to be cool enough to drink.

It's hard to see in this picture, but this sugar water is already getting a nice caramel color.

Getting ready to sugar starts well before you bore the first tap.  All of the wood that's too hard to split, or too punky goes on the sugar camp pile.  It takes a lot of wood to cook down the sugar water into syrup.  It takes 40 - 50 gallons of sugar water to make 1 gallon of syrup.  That's a lot of wood.

Stoking the fire is a great reward after being out in the cold and being all wet and muddy.

Farmer Dan with his fourth generation sugarers in training

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