We don’t know what we are doing.
Gathering sap in the deep woods has proven to challenge our little pea brains. We have had two vehicles stuck so far and had to recruit help to save us.
Lesson 1 – Tap trees that are close to roads or well established trails that are not on severe inclines.
We built a cute little “sugar shack” to boil down our sap. You don’t want to boil it down in the house unless you want to attract every ant in the county. And strip all the wallpaper. Well….maybe we do want to boil it in the house.
This construction works fabulous. All snuggled in the dirt as long as it doesn’t rain. Pops boiled all day Sunday. Sunny, lovely day. We bottled 5 pints. Takes 8 hours to make 5 – 8oz. bottles. Jeez.
The trees are flowing. That means boil more. Stop flowing for a minute, why don’t ya.
The next day, it was my turn at the sugar shack.
It poured all day. I began at 9:00 a.m. and I finished it up inside at 10:30 p.m. Got 7 – 8 oz. bottles. This game is not for the impatient of mind. Puppies hung in there and were NASTY.
Lesson 2 – Better constructed “sugar shack” to protect from elements. And add gravel to avoid 6 inches of sloppy mud slides.
Lesson 3 – Make a better system with a smoke stack or flew so I am not inhaling smoke for 12 or more hours. I feel like I have been at the Mousetrap bellied up at the bar with my best smokin’ buddy.
Lesson 4 – Cancel ALL plans for two weeks. Do nothing AND think of nothing but sap. It is impossible to do anything else while this is going on. I tried taking my paints out there. Painted for about 2 minutes. Read about 3 paragraphs in my book. Watched a little tv on my Ipad.
Lesson 5 – Use the kind of filter that “they” say to use so you don’t have so much shmagma floating around in the bottle. Farmer Bob had an extra one so today’s batch turned out very clean.
By the way, if you choose to try this venture yourself, get your neighbor to do it along side you. Makes it more fun. Talkin’ about all the mistakes we are makin’.
Can you believe it? I am still bowled over.
So, where does it all end? At some point we have to pull the plug and say enough. And it will probably be before the tree is done sapping. We plan to do two more days of boiling and will call it quits for the year. Maybe. But, hey, it was worth it.