SweetWood Maple Products

Pennsylvania Pure Maple Syrup  


Maple Season 2011

02-13-2011, 08:20 AM 

Just a bit behind...did some furry friend repairs yesterday, but kids and "sports saturdays" makes it hard to get things done.

I will need all of this afternoon for more repairs and need to clean tanks.

Can't tap until Monday or Tuesday due to work schedule, but hopefully still in time for the big run mid week.

 02-16-2011, 08:25 AM 

Work schedule got me this year...was supposed to be tapped yesterday, but now a day and a half behind. Squirrels have been brutal this year.

Need to do more repairs this AM, then start tapping after lunch. Dad is coming up, so we'll have two crews. My kids love helping, so dad and I will have one helper each.

Hope to be tapped by tomorrow, but we'll see.

 02-16-2011, 09:15 PM 

460 +/- taps in as of 9 pm. Dad and Abby did 200, and Andrew and myself the other 260 (but we didn't start till 4:30 pm).

The kids were helping all day...so sleeping should be good tonight!!!

I'm still letting the lines run to clear them out, then shutting the valves around 10 pm and turning the vacuum back on.

Had my large vacuum release valve on the releaser stick today after sitting for a year. Hope to not have more problems.

Lots of chews and damage to fix. The wind storms have taken their toll.

I’m wondering a bit about the long range forecast. Hope I didn't tap too early.

 02-17-2011, 10:32 PM 

 Got home from a church meeting and the tanks were running over. I have about 800 gallons from the last 24 hours. Would have had a bit more, but didn't start vacuum till this morning.  I spent 13 hours in the woods yesterday and had to get some sleep.

 02-18-2011, 10:54 PM 

Got through 300 gallons this evening after getting the evaporator cleaned. Still 1,000 gal to go tomorrow.

Running at 1.5% as well. Probably less by the time the little grubbies get done with the sap at 55 degrees today. Oh well.

Vacuum pump ran for 36 hours. Oil temp stays around 120 degrees with the cooler. Used about 12 oz of oil...have to get a better reclaimer.

 02-19-2011, 11:22 PM 

Unfortunately, after all the pushing in the winter, I still don't have my new pan on the rig...had to quit and start tapping this week.  Giving it up till next season.

Amazingly, I fired up the vacuum today and sucked up another 150 gallons. I am just shy of 1,500 gallons so far this year. I was running 25" at the releaser, so I was very happy with that.

 02-20-2011, 11:13 PM 

Sap is at 1.5%. The lowest I've ever seen is 1.6, and when I wrote that on the board of my sugar house from 2008, I put a frowny face beside it!

My 1.5% sap made about 5 gallons of light/medium, then about 7 more gallons of medium. The super sweet I drew off looks like dark amber.

This early in the season, since I'm still one of those rebels with cheap black mainline, my mainlines thaw quick…but not the trees I guess. I had my vacuum running for about one hour today...and had about 1 gallon of sap to show for it....shut er down and will wait on better weather!

Wood pile has a significant dent...and only about 20 gallons of syrup to show for it. yeaow...

Not sure about the forecast...might not be good for next week.

 02-23-2011, 10:01 PM 

 Only hit 37 degrees today after about 15 degrees last night.

Still got about 100 gallons of sap, mainly between 3 and 6 pm.

If tonight does not get too cold, the rain and 40 degrees could allow somewhat of a run tomorrow.

 02-25-2011, 10:47 PM 

 Well, it's like a never ending walk in the woods with tubing and vacuum. I discovered a line off yesterday and a weird vacuum block...must have been ice, but it kept the vacuum from getting upstream.

Boiled off 300 gallons from the last two days. Sugar is up to 1.8%...making Dark Amber at this point. You can tell by the smell of the steam that the trees saw a nice warm up. Oh well, getting low temps tonight.

Looks like a really nice run all night Sunday and into Monday.

I'm about 20% "soft" maples, and I watch them like a hawk. I pull and cap them towards the end of the season.

 02-27-2011, 11:26 PM 

Yes, the run has begun. I boiled the 400 gallons that I had by 5 pm today. Since then, I have around 250 gallons more (need to get sleeping and not checking tanks)

Pump will be running all night. It can go about 4 hours without needing a touch of oil.

Speaking of checking tanks...I was on my way to observe my closest 4 star ladder tonight when my releaser went off. With high vacuum this year, that 1" vacuum dump solenoid made me jump, and I was 50 yards away!!!! Too bad this isn't the fall when the bucks are in rut...I might have some antler holes in my tanks!

 02-28-2011, 08:00 AM

Wow, so much for the maple “snow” in February.  Flood city after all the rain.  Can’t imagine having buckets!!!  (pics)

Maple Flood 2011

 03-05-2011, 12:07 AM 

Ran about 800 gallons so far today. Total for the year is 3500 gallons. Still running at a normal 1.7%. I've gotten used to it over the years having swamp trees.

 03-05-2011, 10:31 PM 

Fortunately, the flood, the water has receeded!  LOL...canoe for collecting, that would be a photo opportunity.

Well, another 1000 gal collected today. West, south, north...east....at 26" of vacuum at the releaser, it doesn't seem to much matter which way the wind blows.

The only problem is that I will probably run out of seasoned, dry wood this week if we get good sap weather. Figure I have enough to clear 7,000 gallons of sap. Oh well...I will be ready for it to end.

 03-06-2011, 10:45 PM 

Well, no warped pan for me (yet)...but have two mishaphs to fess up.

1. Two nights ago, I was adjusting the position of my releaser on the top of my tanks and unknowingly loosened the connection between my top and bottom releaser tank. Basically what that does is make it a one tank system with no chance of dumping vacuum. So....next MORNING...I discovered the moisture trap full and ball blocking the vacuum and almost no sap in the tanks. Yup...missed vacuum on the tubing all night. Fortunately, the moisture trap saved my vacuum pump from sucking in water all night and making junk out of it.

2. Starting the fire and getting things going this evening and did the unpardonable....doing one too many things in the sugarhouse. The one too many was starting a bucket of syrup filling from my canner tank. Forgot about it and found, to my horror, about 5 gallons of medium amber syrup making it's way from my over full bucket to the floor and drifting slowly to the back door of the sugarhouse. Quickly shut the valve and got the hot water hose...crying as I rinsed all that out the back. I would have got the shop vac, but all you folks would have turned me in! ;-)

Up to 55 gallons of syrup plus what's in the evaporator and sweet. I think I'm running about a 65 gallon ratio this year :-(

03-07-2011, 08:43 PM 

Well, got 2/3 of a cord of tinder dry wood tonight.

The man who got me into sugaring has since gone on to be with the Lord (died of lymphoma), but his wife remarried and volunteered wood if I needed it. It has been split and in a dry shed for probably 8 years.

Just picked it up tonight...packed the trailer and got it kind of stuck in the yard...so we'll have to do some wheel barrowing to the sugarhouse.

There is probably 2 more cords there left, but the yard is getting soft, so may not be able to get more.

 03-09-2011, 12:20 AM 

Got another 1,000 gal today@1.6 percent. Releaser is still dumping every 10 min. I'm over 5,000 for the year, and I'm pooped.

 03-10-2011, 10:57 PM 

Got just over 200 gal boiled tonight. Just too beat to get out there and stay up late.

I have around 1000 gal in the tanks left to boil. I think after that I'm done for the season. Trees only running 1.4 to 1.5 percent. I'll be at 6200 gallons total.

Weather looks like another good run or two next week then no freeze for a while. Usually, I'm scrambling and loose a run or two at the beginning of the season. This year, I'll be missing the last two.

 03-11-2011, 08:44 PM 

Ya know...I would have been ok with ending this season WITHOUT burning my pan.

Got talking to dad and forgot to remove the plug. ARGH.

The pan is soaking in acid for the night...at least it was the puckered one that I burnt the last time.

 03-12-2011, 09:53 PM 

Well, I'm not sure I'm getting less % on vacuum. My trees are 2 percent or less, even on gravity tubing. I have kept track for several years. Small crowns and great access to water seem to be the key.

Also, I've ready that high percent sugar can mean the tree is stressed.

Anyway, last year had disaster written for folks without vacuum. For me, vacuum has many benefits, including helping collect for those of us who can't spend the time collecting or pumping sap. My sap is pulled from everywhere, uphill or whatever, to my central collection tanks.

 03-14-2011, 08:56 AM 

I was over getting wood yesterday at a friend’s and while we were talking noticed the buds popped on several silver maples in the yard.

My tally is 6125 gallons for the year. My last boil is this evening. Too many meetings and work this week and the wood pile is short. The weather will be too warm for sap to keep 4 days until I can boil next.

Last sap collected was 1.4 percent.   A short season...not even a month long!

 03-19-2011, 10:33 PM 

 ha ha...well, I said I was done...but I got a little too close to the evaporator today and accidentially lit a fire! LOL

I had 220 gallons of nasty sap at 1.2+ percent sitting in the woods, so pumped it up to the head tank and boiled.

It smells between buddy and yeast...unless we were in for commercial, our season is done according to the trees. I'm sure the mountains and latitude make a big difference for those who would still be boiling.

I will use this batch for Vinegar (should make about 20 gallons)...that is my next market ploy. We have about 3 gallons that is just getting done from last year, some of which was aged in a small oak barrel. It is excellent stuff...makes great marinade and dressing. Awesome on fries if that is your fancy (which it is mine).

The vinegar will combine well with some fresh garden veggies. We are planning some nice glass bottles to combine the vinegar and vegetables to sell.

2011 February Weather

2011 March Weather