For years, my husband's side of the family has had a "Sugar Shack" to
make maple syrup from the sap of the trees on their land.
If you haven't ever tasted REAL maple syrup, please make it a point to do so.
Nothing else tops the taste!
So this year, when the sap started running, I asked the cousins if we could stop by the Sugar Shack
take some photos of the process so you can see how it is done.
They happily obliged me, and called the last day of March and told us to hurry over
because the sap was almost done dripping because of the warmer-than-usual spring days.
In order to get good sap output, the days need to be warmer and the nights cold.
This year, our evenings were warmer than usual, which for maple syrup making, is not good.
So, upon receiving the call, off we went to take some photos.
This is a picture of their Sugar Shack!
I loved their homemade sign.
Right outside the back of the shack, was the much needed woodshed and pile of wood.
You need this to keep the fire burning to boil down the sap into the syrup:
And some other tools you might need?
Because often, when the sap begins running, there is often a LOT of snow still on the ground:
You can gather the sap from the trees in several ways.
Usually, you can just tap the trees and hang a bucket and the sap can be gathered there.
You have to go and get the buckets and pour them out every day:
Here is a closeup of the tap in the tree, yielding the yummy sap:
But, the fastest way, is to use runs of lonnnnnng tubing that twist through the woods and connect downhill:
See how the tapped tree is hooked to the tubing instead of dripping into the bucket?:
The buckets are downhill, where all the tubing runs the sap into larger buckets.
Some Sugar Shacks have the tubing run right down into the Shack and into big vats where it can be steamed:
But our cousins just hook the smaller tubing into larger tubing and into larger buckets:
See all the tubing running from wayyyyyy up the hill on all those trees?:
(Isn't that amazing?)
Here is a photo of some of the large vats where the sap is stored before being boiled down in the steamer:
Here is some sap that has been in the steamer a while. YUMMMM!:
At the Sugar Shack, they have a large steamer and also use small stoves to help boil down the sap too:
Here are the Sugar Shack owners, Mary and John, standing by the BIG steamer. Aren't they just the cutest??:
(And they are as sweet as the syrup. Genuine, sincere and sooo nice.)
Here is John by the steamer. He asked if I wanted a "ghost picture" of him behind the steam. :0}
Checking the syrup. Is it done YET???:
I thought the large steamer was amazing!
What was even more amazing is that our cousins took an older steamer and made it into this gigantic one all by themselves and set up the Sugar Shack to be a well-oiled operation!:
The secret pantry full of little bottles of finished syrup!!!:
And did I leave empty handed?
Oh, no....I did NOT.
Even though it was a bad year for output, they gave us a bottle of syrup to go home with...
to which I was SO grateful.....
Guess who's having pancakes these days???
We would like to thank John, Mary and cousin-in-law Dan for all the time they took to tour us around their maple syrup Sugar Shack operation and for being such gracious and generous hosts....
it will be a memory I will cherish for a long, long time...
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"RAIN, FOG, MIST or DARK SKIES"
Just follow THESE RULES and send in your photo by midnight, April 30th, 2010!!