It’s early March in Michigan. The temperature is starting to get above freezing during the day before dropping back down to the low 30′s at night. The snow is starting to burn away in the spots that are getting sunlight.
It’s the season for making maple syrup!
This past weekend we went out to my folk’s house to set up the sugarbush. For the uninitiated, a sugarbush is the group of sugar maple trees that you tap for making syrup.
During the early spring the trees start pushing sap up their trunks as they prepare to produce leaves and flower buds. The sap of the sugar maple has a high sugar content to get those cells singing and ready to shoot outward.
First off, before you get into this you need to know that it is a TON of work. Good work, but lots of work nonetheless. We have found that it fits our personalities, because by this time of year we are looking for any excuse to get out of the house, even if it’s cold outside. By now I’m so starved for sunlight that my alabaster complexion can be quite blinding in direct sunlight. It’s time to get out before people start calling me Edward.
I’ve lucked out with making maple syrup. Didn’t cost me more than the three plastic cans that I bought to keep the sap in until we have enough to start evaporating. My parents made syrup back in the 70′s, so the two evaporators that my da had built still work great.
Most of the commercial syrup producers use hoses that empty into big 55 gallon barrels. They take all of their sap to big, super efficient three stage boilers.
We keep it simple. Artisan if we are putting on airs. I like country ingenuity. We have simple metal taps that empty into recycled milk and vinegar jugs.