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Month: February 2009

How Not to Test a Sap Transfer Pump

That column of water on the left is hitting the ceiling and showering down all over the vacuum room. I had the clever idea to test to see if I’d hooked up the correct plugs by flicking the sap extractor’s electronic trigger. Well, it worked to show me the plug was in the wrong place. […]

Vacuum “Catastrophe” Averted

We turned on the vacuum over at the re-done bush in Strafford yesterday evening. It involved a lot of last-minute plumbing into the evening. When it went on: only about 8 or 9 bars of mercury. That’s a little less than half of the desired level of vacuum. [Installing a saddle (interface between lateral line […]

Bobcat Sighting from Sugar Shack

Doing some work on the sugarhouse a few days ago, we saw a bobcat slip into the field behind our home. My cell phone camera is bad, even among cell phone cameras, so the picture didn’t come out very well. The creature looked a whole heck of a lot larger than what I thought a […]

The Forest Tapped; Maple Syrup to Come

Saturday we tapped the Hubbard Hill bush. Five of us teemed over the hill, putting up 500 taps into holes we drilled into the trees. That night I moved the tapping equipment – mostly power drills with extra batteries and rechargers over at the Strafford bush in preparation for tapping on Sunday. Driving over with […]

Sugar Season About to Start

Where we live, we don’t often have to worry about security issues. Many folks don’t lock their doors. For the last few years I’ve tended to close the sugar shack door with a less-than-secure device I call the “Vermont security system,” pictured below. [The Vermont Security System, patent pending] Coupled with being right across from […]

Fake Maple Syrup Flavor: The Taste Test (Blech)

This has to be categorized as taking one for the team. I was eager (at first) to test out three different fake maple syrup flavorings I ordered over the internet. But then I smelled them, and boy, it was a learning experience. [The culprits] Fake maple syrup is typically made with sugar, some sort of […]

New Tech in the Maple Syrup Operation for 2009

Last year we drove ourselves a little crazy by introducing a lot of new elements into the maple syrup operation. We introduced ourselves to filter presses (which take more sediment out of raw maple syrup), reverse osmosis (pre-concentrates sap before boiling), line vacuum (extracts more sap from trees), blowers (makes fire hotter) and pre-heaters (uses […]

Maple Syrup Mystery Smell Not Maple Syrup

Not long after we pointed out to hapless New Yorkers the true nature of their “maple syrup smell mystery,” the New York Times weighed in with not one, but two reporters summing up events. The upshot, as any Vermonter could tell you, was that the mystery smell wasn’t maple syrup at all. It was the […]


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