Sunday, March 26, 2017

Why did the chicken cross the driveway?

Sap Boil #2 of 2017

This weekend was a vast improvement on the bone chilling cold first sap boil of 2017. This boil yielded just about 3 gallons syrup from ~ 130 gallons of sap. A lot of the storage containers had their walls lined with ice which, when melted and tested with a hygrometer, showed a zero on the Brix scale which means it had no sugar in it. SP pitched the ice out into the woods and was ready to fill the bins back up come Sunday, and when SP and Lukey collected today, we had sixty gallons already. There will be a 3rd boil of 2017!
It was a fun weekend had by all, enjoying the warmer temperatures and sunshine we so deserve at this time of year.
Happy Maple Syrup Sunday everyone!

Maine Facial = Macial

Our peaceful kingdom where both humans, canines, and chickens coexist. 

Baby is our little helper

neighbors came over to visit and admire the mapron


The best news is that we have half the "starter wood" left, and more sap in storage!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Single Digit first sap boil

Saturday marked our first sap boil of the season and the temperature did not get above 9 degrees F. It was frigid to say the least!

Balaclavas were mandatory! The cold temperatures presented us with a bigger challenge. All the storage, which is more than we ever have had, was predominantly frozen, so we again had to use the Yankee ingenuity we have come to know and love. The sap had been freezing in the buckets, so some of the storage was garbage bags full of frozen sap, in the shape of a bucket!

We will remedy the situation over by the boiler after we set a few things up.

 In the mean time, we had a little fun. Now you see him....

Now you don't!  We need to work on improving the sound track - enough NPR already!

Who needs an XBox when you can play real life Mine Craft!?

Getting the bellows going. Thank heavens for large garbage day and re-purposing.

Time to warm up with some sap tea. Haven't heard of sap tea? Take a mug, put in a tea bag, and fill it with boiling hot sap straight off the evaporator!

The sap that wasn't frozen started freezing in the buckets!

Ingenious way to melt the frozen sap chunks.

We processed ~ 120 gallons of sap and yielded ~ 2.5 gallons of syrup.

Preparing for the first boil

With everything still frozen into the snow banks, preparing for a sap boil took a lot of SP's spare time. I have to say that he also put to use his mass stores of Yankee ingenuity!

And of course, no sooner did he get the toboggan's underneath the boiler, then a chicken decided to take a ride in his truck.

Just a few feet closer and we are ready to level it.

Need to cover it up in case of any critters or precipitation.

And make sure the wood is ready. Too bad we didn't cover that.

And we are ready to go.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Jellies and Shrubs for the March Food in Jars Challenge

Here is the post for Marisa's March Food in Jars Challenge which will focus on Jellies and Shrubs. In the lead up to this I was brainstorming all the shrubs I could think of to make jellies out of. I questioned the validity of this, asking what discerns a shrub from an invasive from a weed or a plant? Clearly I was WAY OFF BASE. I'm still so curious what I will make, but I have two good mixologists in my life to inspire me and some wonderful tried and true recipes to fall back on. Thank you again for the Challenge Marissa! To quote Marissa from the March Challenge post, "a shrub is a combination of fruit, sugar and vinegar. When left to sit for a few days (or even longer), they develop a deep, sweet-tart flavor that is a wonderful addition to a glass of sparkling water, a batch of salad dressing, a fancy homemade cocktail, a marinade for meat or vegetables, or to a pan sauce
There is better writer on the topic of shrubs than Michael Dietsch. He started in on the topic back in 2011 with this post on Serious Eats and has subsequently written a whole book about them. Emily Han‘s book, Wild Drinks and Cocktails, is also contains a lot of tasty shrubs.
If you remember the essential ratio of one part sugar, one part vinegar, and a generous handful of fruit of some kind, you’ll be good."