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Category: Lines

Double-Tapping To Suss Out New Spiles

This year we’re replacing the vast majority of our “health spouts” with the new valved sap adapters, in the hopes that they’ll extend the season and give us the gift of additional maple syrup. Being the skeptical sort, we’re taking 30 or 40 trees and double-tapping them so that we can see if indeed the […]

Maple Trees Down Due to Wind

I usually find a good excuse to be late with my line cleaning, but this year’s is a good one. Ellie and I will be having our first child in early September. Preparations for that have been soaking up what would otherwise have surely been very productive procrastination from cleaning my lines and packing maple […]

It’s Fall, Time to Run Lines to Expand the Maple Syrup Operation

Common sense may say otherwise, but fall is the time maple syrup makers’ minds turn to thoughts of making even more maple syrup. They see beautiful yellow lines of sugar maple trees yet untapped for lack of that one last roll of 5/16th inch line last year. Over the summer, the memory metastasizes into schemes. […]

Adding “New” Maple Trees

They aren’t really new trees. Average age is perhaps 75, and ranging between 40 years old and 150 years old. Probably half of them have been tapped before, a few generations ago in the days of horses and buckets. But to me they’re new, and they seem to be multiplying as I’m running line to […]

Maple Syrup All Made; Now for the Cleaning (and Procrastinating)

We produced 520 gallons on the farm this year ourselves, and bought in a bunch more from people who have maple syrup operations adjacent to ours. It’s not a large supply given the demand we’ve seen over the past year, but it’ll do. We’re still cleaning lines, as usual taking us a lot longer than […]

Voice from Past as the Maple Syrup Season Slows

In maple sugaring, the equipment that claims the cruelest name is the “extractor,” a device that sounds like it preys on maple trees. What it really does is separate out the sap flowing down toward a vacuum system and puts it into a storage tank without interrupting the flow of vacuum to the tree. [The […]

Simple Solution to Dumb Mistake

There are a lot of details to sugaring, and we miss many of them. Usually we can quickly correct things. Sometimes, it’s difficult. This is a good example. In switching off different lines to help diagnose where a vacuum leak might be, we sometimes forget to turn the line back on. That’s bad enough. But […]

Maple Syrup on the Way

We boiled on the new “monster” arch today for the first time, and it was fantastic. First, though, we tricked a bunch of friends that it would be fun to “take a walk” in the woods. We have very gullible friends, and they found themselves looking for and fixing vacuum leaks. Here is one hapless […]

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 […]

One Step Backward

I arrived at the sugar bush this afternoon, planning on putting up a roll or two of lateral line before the snow got too deep to wade through. By the time I got to the sugar shack, though, I could see that the last ice storm’s damage included some downed branches that had taken out […]


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