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Category: Vacuum

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 Syrup Barn Eats Large Sap Tank

We planned to put it up at the end of the summer, when we first finished the new sap barn, but of course, stuff intervened. We wound up heaving this 600-gallon monster steel tank up into the loft only after the first snows had come, making it all the harder and heavier. The opening up […]

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 […]

Bulk Handling Maple Syrup

We took down the old greenhouse where we used to keep our main sap tank and its vacuum system, replacing it with the “sap barn,” a two-story affair that Robert and the boys put up in a few weeks over the summer. The barn itself is nice enough, but there are a couple special features […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Great Maple Syrup Research Compendium

Back in 1982, the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station put together a large series of studies into one document to help sugar makers employ some of the more interesting recent findings. That document is available here. Some highlights: – A good deal of what we know (which is still pretty incomplete) about how and why sap […]


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