Musings of an everyday woman . . .

Reflections on living and loving life . . .

The Maple Syruping Tradition Continues . . . February 26, 2011

Filed under: 365 Project,Baby!,Winter — everydaywomanusa @ 10:28 pm
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February is the time of the year in New England, as the temperatures rise above freezing during the day and dip  below freezing at night, that we trudge through the snow to tap those maple trees, beginning the long, labor of love that turns fresh maple sap into sweet, sticky maple syrup.

I know I’ve written about this  maple syruping adventure before . . . but this year is different, because we have this little guy on board to experience it all . . .

Joshua was in the “thick” of things, so to speak, taking it all in, as he watched his grandpa, great-grandpa, great-uncle, uncles, and second-cousins scurry around the woods, drilling holes, tapping in quills, hanging buckets, and installing pipelines.

Uncle Nate even took time for a game of “Peek-a-Boo” with Joshua, between the maple trees.

“Josh, do you want to help?”

Grandpa splices tubing for the pipeline . . .

Cousin Steve works from the crook of a tree . . .

Uncle Jon taps in quills and adds covers . . .

Joshua has Mommy lift the lid to check to see if the sap is dripping . . .

He even took a “Gator” ride with Mommy and Grandpa.

Even Grandpa takes a break for Joshua’s favorite game of the moment: “Peek-a-Boo!”  It’s amazing what babies will encourage even the most serious adults to do to make them laugh!

Josh takes a break from all the hard work with a rest on the quad with Uncle Jon, Uncle Nate, and Mommy.

Of course, Duke was supervising the whole process . . .

. . . as was Jake . . .

And this is the little guy that made it so much more fun!

I’m thinking there’s some pancakes and sweet maple syrup in his future . . .

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Sunday Stroll: Tapping Trees March 8, 2009

Late February/early March is the time we get busy with tapping Maple trees in the Northeast, depending on what the weather’s doing.  In order to have a productive run with sap, to transform into sweet, sticky, amber syrup, you need freezing temps at night and thawing temps during the day.

Due to a bunch of storms and a really cold snap that hung around, we waited until March to tap our Maple trees here on the farm.

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Our youngest, Nathaniel, drills the holes for the quills/taps.  We used to use a hand-powered drill, but now a battery-operated drill speeds up the job.

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Our older son, Jonathan, hammers in the taps and adjusts the line.

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My DH makes some adjustments to the main sap pipeline.

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As always, Duke find a comfortable spot from which he can supervise the work!

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We also use traditional pails and quills to collect sap from our maples.

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On this warm, spring-like day, the snow is quickly melting and the sap is dripping practically in a constant stream, almost like a slow-dripping faucet.

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When the buckets are full of sap, we collect the precious liquid and haul it to the Sugar House, where we cook it down into syrup.  When you see steam and smoke escaping, you know the wonderful transformation is taking place!

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The long process from sap to syrup takes place in the wood-fired evaporater.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of sweet maple syrup!

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It’s a long process that requires lots of man-power and wood-power and you must be patient!  When we finish a fresh batch, there’s nothing better than to sample the sweet stuff over hot pancakes or johnnycake!

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A stroll around the farm just isn’t complete without a stop to say hi to our newest addition, Annabelle.  She’s due to deliver a foal in August, which we’re very excited about!

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I also came upon Nathaniel using his mini-excavator to clean up Annabelle’s pasture, making more room for her and her friends.  They’re enlarging the fenced-in pasture space, complete with new fence posts, so Nate’s excavator was perfect for pulling out the old posts.   I just know that Annabelle and her baby will love their new space!

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To see who else is strolling on this lovely March day, stop by the Quiet Country House.