Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sugaring Part II

So after hanging the buckets on Tuesday we were ready to boil sap on Friday.  Tommy and Grandpa went out to gather up the sap Friday morning.  I have no pictures of this as I was in the house in pain.  I had fallen down the stairs the night before and was pretty beat up, so I skipped sap retrieval.

According to Grandpa they had about 20 gallons of sap from the buckets we hung.  They dumped it into this big container on the tractor.

Grandpa then put it up in the air on the tractor and attached a hose to drain it into the boiler.

Once all the sap was in the boiler Grandpa got things going.  This process takes a LONG time.  Tommy had to gather wood and help stoke the fire many many times.

After the sap has been boiling for awhile you check to see how thick it is getting.  If it is "sheeting" you are on the right track.

After a while Grandpa tests to see if it's ready in this metal test tube thingy.  Once he is satisfied with that he then draws off some of the syrup from the boiler.

It's not done yet, now it needs to be filtered to get all the gross stuff out.  I don't know what equates to gross stuff but I'm guessing tree bark, bugs and the like.

The syrup hangs out in the filter thing and continues to heat.  After it's filtered it is ready for bottling and tasting.

Apparently syrup has a grade.  The best, highest grade syrup is very light in color.  The darker the syrup gets the lesser the quality and taste.  This thingy below helps decide what grade you have made.

Here is the syrup we made.  You tell me what quality you think it is.

Pretty dark.  Looks like Guinness to me.  We had missed the best sap time this year, so basically this was all just for show.  The syrup we brought back is not what we made.  Tommy doesn't know that, so don't spill the beans.  I'm sure if we had been a few weeks earlier our syrup would have been GRADE A vs. Grade X.

All that matters is that Tommy had fun and got to spend time with his grandparents.  I loved watching Tommy interact with them and the bonding between them was very special.  I'm sad that they all live so far away.  I know I'll remember this visit for a long time and I hope that Tommy does too.

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