SweetWood Maple Products

Pennsylvania Pure Maple Syrup  


Maple Season 2015

After much deliberation, we decided to do maple sugaring "lite" this year.  We had a very busy summer and fall with the house addition. 


Still not totally done, but taking some time out as we are within a gallon of being out of syrup.  It has been since 2011, when we had 460 taps on vacuum.  We had close to 100 gallons of syrup, which has sustained us until now.


After some inspection, and a threat to throw in the towel before it was even used, we decided to not try to repair the entire woods of tubing in one weekend.  Lines were down and under lots of snow and who knows what else.  Releaser is questionable and tanks need a major cleaning.  Lines between releaser and sugarhouse were down too after a tree fell two years ago.  I am very short on vacation time, and energy due to the house addition.  Therefore, we began to do some short runs close to the house.  So much snow and cold make it hard going through 18 inches of snow and ice.

We began by cleaning out the sugarhouse and rinsing the evaporator.  We also discovered some 4 year old maple vinegar (See the 2011 Maple Archive).

We took used droplines and tubing runs that were removed after our neighbor decided to allow less taps, and had them handy to do repairs.  Also dusted off all the tools and got them ready.

We discovered 25 maple sap bag holders, but only enough spiles for 15.  Might be able to improvise for the rest.

Found 20 buckets in the sugarhouse.  We washed those, ready to put next to trees with short runs of tubing.  Barrels were frozen solid next to the sugarhouse.  Lots of hot water to get them free.


Went to church in the morning, then got back in the woods.  We managed to get 32 taps repaired and put into one 55 gallon barrel on the hill close to the house.

Got those 32 tapped, with an eye on more segments of tubing that can be repaired that remained from the 2011 season.


I was able to get off work at noon, so more tubing repairs and buckets placed at the trees in the yard.  Up to about 60 taps now.

Got the chainsaw out about 8 pm to free a 1/2" mainline just beyond the sugarhouse.


Decided to work a few days in the morning before work.  I was out and got about 10 more taps up, including more repairs.  Gotta love that tubing tool, no more fooling with hot water!

After work, more repairs and tapping.

Temps have been steady in the 40's during the day and 20's at night.  Slow but consistent sap flow with such low temps in January - Early March.


Another early morning and late evening.  Cleared 100 taps.  Also started gathering from the barrels.  We had a few small runs, not much over 100 gallons of sap, so we will wait.

Filled evaporator with water and acid, then lit a small fire.  I will scrub and clean tomorrow evening, ready for our first boil.  I also crawled into the 700 gallon head tank and scrubbed with scouring pad and bleach.  Lots of rinsing.


Our first boil of about 180 gallons, plus 40 gallons from a friend at church.  No syrup draw off yet, but boy that sap steam smells good.  Dry oak blocks are the wood, along with wood taken down when we put in the sand mound.


Broke out the sap sacks finally.  Got about 15 hung up.  A few more taps with the help of Nathan and the girls this evening.


Another Boil tonight, collecting about 300 gallons plus another 40 or 50 from Jay.  Took us till 11 PM to finish off.  Drew off 4 gallons of syrup, very light stuff.


Took a trip to Virginia yesterday, then back to boiling.  Only about 180 gallons to boil.  We are up to 150 taps, with all 25 bags up plus a few more short runs and buckets.


Boiled about 300 plus 50 gallons this evening.  The temps are still looking very good in the long range forcast.  Syrup is still light medium, another 6 gallons taken off the evaporator.


Boiled off 200 gallons plus 40 from Jay this evening.  Andrew has been a huge help, now running pumps and collecting for us while I am at work or travelling.

Not sure about the forecast, perhaps a few more boils.  Looking on my wall in the sugarhouse, March 31st was the last day I ever collected sap in all my years sugaring.


 Well, about 100 gallons after two days of 60's.  Very dark syrup, make darker by my choosing to boil the whole evaporator. 

I hear the peepers in the swamp, and only see at best one more day of freeze.  Season is over.

2015 March Weather

2015 April Weather