It’s pure dumb luck that I decided to blow up my blog and start over right in the middle of sugaring season in Massachusetts. For the last six years, I’ve tapped trees in my yard to make small-batch maple syrup for my family and a few friends.
Seasons have been up and down for the last few years. Weird Spring weather jumped from really cold to really warm in 2016 and 2017, so the sap run was short. But this year has been different with the perfect combination of warm days and cold nights lasting for weeks. I’ve almost tripled the amount of sap I collected last year, and a few of the trees are still running and the buds haven’t really opened yet.
One of the most popular posts on my old blog, which I’ll try and resurrect someday, was instructions for how I made a maple syrup evaporator out of an old olive oil drum and some steamtable pans. It took only a few hours to make and for a first attempt, it worked well. With a few more improvements it continues to serve my backyard syrup operation well.
This year it’s processed about 30 gallons of sap and produced a little over a quart and a half of maple syrup. For a backyard with only twelve taps and only medium-sized trees, that’s pretty good. With a little luck there’s another half-pint to be had and we’ll put away nearly 2 quarts for the coming year. And, since I use a wood-fired evaporator, I’ve been able to burn a lot of the branches that recent storms brought down. #winning!