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What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Posted by brendasue 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 21, 09 at 9:24

We tried our hand at making maple syrup this year. LOTs of buckets out and the sap has been flowing for over a week.

We made two batches. The first didn't quite make the official maple syrup temperature, due to an innacurate thermometer, but it still came out ok & will be frozen & used like that. The second batch came out perfect, we bought a new thermometer, and the jars sealed up nice.

The 2nd batch of course we knew a little bit more what to expect, and from about 90 gallons of sap ended up with about 1 1/2 gallons of syrup. More batches to come yet this year, but I'll tell you making the syrup definately helped with the erupting gardening urge that's hitting me right now!

So what projects does everyone have going on?
Brendasue


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

This weekend I am going to attempt to fix my barn some, and work on new feeders for the chicken and also a hay feeder for the goats (the garbage can you suggested). I am up early this weekend (before 1) so I better get busy.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Interesting that you are doing maple syrup in your zone already. I was driving with a friend today and we thought the maple sugar people here might start soon. Still doing inside projects since it's too snowy and cold to do outside projects. Need to plant my daylily seed and put them under lights in the basement tomorrow.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

This is a great idea for a thread!

I am considering more winter sowing tomorrow.

I am also going to put the finishing touches on the bat house and hang it up. Then I will staple black landscaping fabric over their previous entry into my house. Must make myself completely finish one project before starting another. I have only just recently learned this valuable lesson. Something that is difficult for me but HAS to be done or I will end up with eight projects on the go, none of which have been completed...

Then I'm considering moving on to some tiling. I have a small wrought-iron table bottom and four wrought-iron chairs that need new cushions. I want to make a broken tile table top and matching chair seats and put the set in the garden. I may cut the tiles into little pieces to make a matching design. I got a masonry blade with my new radial arm saw. The Habitat For Humanity Restore has walls of tiles for pennies. I have already bought a few for this project. Must do this before the ground thaws or it will have to wait until next winter.

Have always wanted to do maple syrup. It's big around here. There is a huge maple sugar bush north of town. I have read that you can make syrup from various other trees too, like walnut and apple, and that it is very good. It's not something I will probably ever do, just an idea from reading way too many Harrowsmith magazines :-)


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

i AM LIKE YOU. I have many projects going and none finished. It is a bad habit but if we had more time in the day this would not happen now would it? LOL

I am not understanding why you have to do the tiling project before the ground thaws. Is it because of time restrictions? Going to be too busy in the yard in the spring?

Well I never did get the pallets so I guess tomorrow I will be doing something else. Perhaps working on my mosaic garden ball.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Some syrupers here are starting but it's not flowing well just yet.

Today, I am cleaning the chicken coop and giving the barn a good going over. They are prediciting 10" of wet heavy snow here starting at mid-day. Ugh.

Just this past week we cleared three acres (with the help of a logging companpy) of white pine forest to make a new pasture this year. The trees are down and gone. Next it has to be stumped but we have to wait until some of the frost is going to be out of the ground, then leveled picked, seeded and fertilized. This will be our project for the year basically! It takes forever to get the pastures going well.

I have garneding fever really bad. I still have 5 weeks before I can even start some seeds here! There are daffodils peeking up aroudn the foundation of the house!

I guess we all better get cracking!!


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

I have a lot of things planned for when the ground thaws. Need to get my cold frame in the ground so I can use it and I have many things to move before they wake up. I will also be planting the early green peas and carrots as soon as the ground is workable and the potatoes shortly thereafter.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

I'm stumbling along today having finished wiring a 220v outlet for the welder at the woodshop to weld up additional lumber racks. I'm cutting 2"x2"x1/4" tube for two more forks for the tractor bucket. With four forks I'll be better able to sift thru brush and limbs. Then remove forks, and go back with bucket and scoop up composted dirt to add to growing projects. Bought small sheet of expanded metal to make soil sifter, Project # 9087. I've got sooo many components to projects!

Brooder is ready and waiting for the Girls coming an two weeks. I'm considering putting my coop on wheels because it offers me many more options than a fixed run. I want my chickies to day-range to give them a better diet and to lend a hand preparing, de-bugging, and fertilizing garden plots. The electronet fencing will be a big help.

I've bent metal tubing for a high tunnel greenhouse for the garden. I am roughing out the footings with my backhoe and need to level the rest by hand. Gardening on a slope is very problematic!

I have lots of stacks of wood to sort, scrap to cut up for kindling, sheds to clean out, and a root cellar to spruce up.

There are ten trees in large pots I've been growing for years to put out in the landscape.

What have I done to myself?!

I have a lot of fruit tree grafting to do this year and the time is getting near.

I'm always on the hunt for raw materials to compost. I drew up plan for vermicomposting boxes and need to get them cut out and assembled. A friend has offered red wigglers by the handfuls for free! My son just gave me a dozen 4x4's and sheets of ply for free! A friend just gave me an old Sears mower that is the same vintage as mine and will be good for spare parts.

Gotta draw a line somewhere!

Herbert


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 22, 09 at 12:16

It's always interesting to hear how the sap is flowing in other places, although it makes me a bit jealous. We haven't tapped yet (northern tip of Nova Scotia), but any day now...We tap only red maples, as sugar maples are scarce on our property, and too far to haul buckets from. This means more boiling - 60 gallons sap:1 gallon syrup instead of the usual 40:1 for sugar maple -- brendasue, I'm surprised at your 90:1. Someone's given us an evaporator, to use with wood, which will make a big difference I hope - we usually cook the pots on propane and wood stoves.

I didn't know you could make walnut and apple syrup. We made birch syrup a couple of years ago from white birch. A very tangy dark molasses-like syrup, not to many people's taste but probably loaded with nutrients. We're keeping it for survival food. :)


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

My! You do sound busy, Herbert! But isn't it fun!

If I had the time, I would like to try all the different trees to make various syrup flavours. There are so many more things I would do with more time.

I have kept my posted plans simple and short. You do NOT want to read the comprehensive list of projects I have planned for the next two years. lol!


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

I need to learn how to tap these trees for syrup. Gives me an excuse to make pancakes. LOL


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

msjay2uIts not hard, I used to tap birch trees and drink the sap when I was a kid. First you drill in at a slight upward angle, Then you pound in a tap (farm supply outfit maybe?) and pound a nail above it, hang your bucket on the nail and collect periodically. The sugar sap in maples runs when it drops below freezing at night and gets above freezing during the day in the spring, if I remember, since I was too far north for sugar maples it was never an issue.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Good info Brendan! How much syrup can you get from one large maple tree? We have one on our property. Hmmmm, a new project? We have a couple of big old apple trees too. How do you make maple candy? Cook it longer until it is solid maple sugar? Boy! My house sure would smell good making maple syrup!

Herbert, our garage/shop came with the 220 wiring but we haven't done anything with it yet. When we can, we are going to get hubby an acetylene torch and some equipment for welding, so he can make and remake equipment for our tractor, among other things. I have always wanted to do grafting! Not just trees but all kinds of things. It is so interesting! Just never had time. You know, the more raw materials you collect, the longer the project list gets. So, where do you draw that line? lol! I want to know where it is...

I can get red wrigglers from a friend for free too, just don't know where to put them. The ground freezes here and kills them, if they're outside. I could keep them in the root cellar, but I don't want them escaping all over everywhere. I have though of keeping them in the chicken house, then if they escape they won't get far. lol! I just won't have any left. Anyway, it freezes in there too. I know if I keep them happy they will stay in the container, but that's not a guarantee. Where are you going to keep yours?


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

From a small-medium tree you are supposed to get one quart per season if you life in the right area, I think, as before I lived too far north, you are also supposed to be able to get as much as two gallons per season out of the really big behemoths.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

runningtrails, I'm putting my three to six boxes in the utility room where the h2o heater and furnace are and monitor the temps. Eventually, I'd like to put them in a pit on the floor of one of my greenhouses in order for them to stay warm.

Grafting is so rewarding! I had great success with my first attempts and even bought some apple, pear, and plum rootstock to further my addiction, er, hobby/food production. My Cox's Orange Pippin, an antique English desert apple highly touted as being one of the best tasting, has never produced well in my north Georgia climate and I was about to yank it up when a forum member (Fruits and Orchard) suggested "topworking" it. It's when you lop off all the limbs and graft another totally different variety onto it. The existing root system really feeds the new scions and they grow like crazy! I grafted another English apple, Asmead's Kernel, onto it as it does well in my climate. I got three feet of growth the second year! I've got wild apple here by the dozens and plan on topworking some to see what happens. It also removes a food source for the Plum Cucrlio, a dreaded bug that loves apples, and also for the large White Tailed Rats that we have in abundance up here. Grafting is easy to do with some practice, and it can "work" for you as you go about the nine thousand other projects you have started.

Herbert


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

hmmmm sounds easy.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

You mean there's lots more sap coming? Ackkk! We used a link from Ohio-an extention service I think, and a few others we found as cross-reference material. It's fun to do but I don't know if we'll be going for much longer. It does take up a lot of time keeping the fire going for the stove.

Most of the taps aren't on our property, my brother put them (with permission) on a acquantances property, we only have about 8 maple trees, the rest are oaks & pines. I'm thinking the yield is from different types of trees? This is the best I could figure based on what we read. The temps here are fluxuating pretty good, 15-20's at night & 30-40 during the days. It wasn't flowing much on sunday though.

I tried grafting a rose bush several times-I figured I'll leave that to the experts & bought some fruit trees instead!

Brendasue


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Pine syrup is probably a bad idea, Oak is a definite maybe, not what I think of when I think of Sweet sap.


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

I guess I didn't make that clear. We tapped various maples from the other land & the 8 maples from ours. We did not tap the oaks & pines on our property.
Brendasue


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Herbert, aren't you afraid they'll escape into the house? That's my biggest fear, worms all over the place!
I have considered a pit outside but it would have to be 4' deep, at least, to be below the front line (I don't have a greenhouse). I would sink a large rubber garbage can in it. I'd like to have them for sale and to make compost, but I'll have to think of a place to put them.

Now I'm wondering what the other tree syrups would taste like. It would be fun to make wines from various things on our property too, but I'm not going to :-) That's where the line is! I think I found it!

I have considered grafting grapes onto the wild grapevine that does so well here. Not doing trees.

Sheryl


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

okay if you put a tap in the tree and collect the sap in the bucket then what??? funnel it in a bottle and start using it on pancakes or are there more steps to it? (too lazy to look it up)

I KNOW IT CAN'T BE THAT EASY!!!


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Then you strain the syrup through cheesecloth, and start boiling it. Boil it until it reaches 7 degrees above the temperature of boiling water at your elevation, this could take days depending on the amount of syrup. Keep it hot as you strain it again, this time into your sterilized syrup containers. Wipe the rim, seal the container, turn upside down. We did ours outside as we heard boiling it on the kitchen stove will make your walls sticky, not sure but we didn't want to take the chance.

I probably missed some details. Here is the instructions we followed:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/for-fact/0036.html

btw, metal strainers don't work, neither do coffee filters. Get the cheesecloth & save yourself some work.
Brendasue


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

Ahh, the memories. We had 2 trees in the front yard Dad would tap. Put the sap in a pan on the old wood stove and let her go, add some, watch, whatever he did, we had syrup and if we could find some good snow on the tree edge, then we made snow candy or jack wax. Took his false teeth right out, but he said it was worth sucking them dry!!! Yup he was right, we had our teeth, but the fork would become a lollypop with the little residue! Ah, and I now live in Florida. Have to make a snow cone and put hot maple syrup on it to make the candy!!!


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

I have a huge old maple in my yard and several more in the woods over the fence. It's the county forest on two sides of my property. They probably wouldn't even know if I tapped some of their trees.

I read that article. Very informative! I might do this, maybe. Hubby can get me some large plastic buckets from work that have only had soap in them. I just need a spout to put in the hole and cheesecloth.

I don't know. The boiling seems fairly time consuming. I'll have to see how my other projects are coming at that time. I will be doing it outside, I think, but I don't want to use up our carefully hoarded wood for winter heat. hmmmm. I'll have to think about this.

Maybe I can talk hubby into doing this one. He has a week off in March and actually likes to cook. (I don't know either. Maybe he finds it rewarding?)


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

too much work for me. But sounds like a good future project


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RE: What projects are you doing? Maple syrup here.

runningtrails, I have been reading up in vermi-stuff and have not noticed any concerns about worms in the house. But now you have me thinking and I'm going to put screen over the vents to help prevent ant break-outs! Thanks!

Herbert


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