- March 17, 2014 at 8:22 am #82848
We have been going out collecting a lot recently, mostly to save what little sap did run during the middle of the day from freezing overnight. Did finish our 15th gallon of syrup last night though! Looking forward to some more warm weather to come..March 18, 2014 at 8:16 am #82851
I am contemplating replacing a bunch of my tubing w buckets. I am wondering how the “slosh factor” is when the poly tank on your gathering rig is half full, as far as pushing & pulling the horses. Would you change anything if you were to build another one?
“What did one sugarmaker say to another? Looks like we might get a run in the next few days!”
Thanks & good luck.
MarkMarch 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm #82853
We have an old galvanized (yes a bad word in maple these days) that has some baffling in the tank, it helps reduce the slosh factor. I keep wondering how we can make a food grade collection tank that is bucket friendly, sloshes less and is easy to clean well.March 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm #82854
I would think that a round bottom SS storage tank, the kind on the angle iron frame that all the mfg’s are making now (e.g. see p. 36 of 2014 Bascom catalog), with a bottom drain, could be sized appropriately and fitted w a removable SS center baffle. The baffle could be hung from the top edges and braced back to the ends. A cover would be easy enough to fab up and would not necessarily need to be SS.
MarkMarch 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm #82855
Mark- I have been mostly very pleased with the poly tank for collecting with the horses. It is a little high to dump into though sitting up on that cart. I guess if I was re-designing, it would be nice to figure out a way to set it lower. One reason I have kept is so high though is because when we’re unloading the tank at the sugar house I just open the valve and drain into a bucket, and that bucket has to be able to fit under the valve. We then hand carry each bucket up to the bulk tank. Labor intensive I know, but it works and we haven’t had to buy a pump yet.
One nice thing about the cart we have the tank sitting on is that when were emptying the sap it is a quick job to pull the hitch pin from the for cart, chock the wheels, and tip the tank up to drain those last few gallons of sap that can be so frustrating to get out otherwise.
The slosh really doesn’t seem to bother the horses, in fact I don’t even feel it very much while standing on the for cart. Also have never had a problem with sap sloshing out because of the round sides of the tank and small opening up top. We hang a wire rimmed cone filter inside that opening which buffers the splashes too. If the tank is getting real full I may half screw the lid on before traversing rough ground or going up a bumpy hill..March 19, 2014 at 8:13 am #82858
Good idea having it set up to tip, not only to get the sap but to help keep it clean, always an issue for us with those side bulkhead fitting tanks. Is that a 250 gal tank? We will have about 250 taps here and in the immediate neighborhood next year. Trying to think about the best rig for me for collecting. I expect that I might be going over sleigh trails w deep snow pack (like this year) but would also like to be able to go up the road to the neighbors roadside trees. Would be nice to have some clamp-on skiis for the forecart, ones that would go on the tires, w/o removing the wheels. Probably more trouble than it is worth.
Yeah, the busy bodies are getting all over galvanized. Though from what I read in this Maine Extension bulletin (http://umaine.edu/publications/7038e/, “Reducing Lead in Syrup”, about 3/4 the way down), the less time the sap spends in contact w galvanized the better. So a collection tank would not be as big an issue as buckets or a storage tank.
MarkMarch 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm #82859
You need two different gathering rigs, one for trail and one for road…. I know, expensive !!
carl nyMarch 20, 2014 at 6:44 am #82861
Those same reasons are why we use a trailer instead of a scoot of some sort. Trees in the woods and trees on the road. At one point we did try strapping snowmobile skis to the for cart tires using the straps from a car dolly and welding down some brackets on the skis to attach the straps into. It seemed like it might work..but it was a mess. Couldn’t handle sharp turns, and had trouble backing up. In the end a semi packed trail through the woods snow was not all that bad to travel over and that is what we do now.
I was curious what every one is using for wood? What species, how and when you process, also how you store it.
This is the first year that we have wood that I’m really happy to be using. It is all Basswood and Poplar. We had a big multi-trunk Basswood blow down not far from the sugar house last year and decided to try it for sugar wood. Not really a species we would want to use in the house stove since it is fairly light and “soft” It was such a joy to work, easy to cut, easy to split. The same can be said for the Poplar that we cut and processed at the same time. (At that point we were hand splitting everything and pine can be such a bear to hand split.) We were cutting and skidding logs next to the sugar house all season last year during off days or mornings before we would collect sap. Ended up getting it all stacked and under cover by the end of April and this is the first year we used metal roofing to cover the pile instead of tarps (what a mess) We built the pile two pallets deep and stacked the wood to pitch from the south face down to the north face slightly and covered with used metal roofing. As we access wood this year it is all dry as matchsticks, best of all, when you move through the pile we can simply push back a sheet of metal roofing in sort of a telescoping roof system. Without a proper wood shed I think this is definitely the best system we have had yet. We got the idea from another sugar maker friend.March 22, 2014 at 7:04 pm #82875
Had a gang busters Maple weekend Saturday, broke all sales records. Boiled straight sap to make it last. Long day standing on concrete yapping.
Thoughts while listening to James McMurtry (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-D824LHti4)on a Saturday night…
Interesting observations Joel. I will not pursue the ski on the wheel avenue, your description lays bare the obvious problems, which I had not considered. Carl, you may not be so far off. I am fortunate to have 2 forecarts so I could have skiis on one and wheels on the other, pulling a wheeled trailer similar to Joel’s. I expect I would use the wheeled one most of the time, but if I needed the one w skiis I have the option of picking up roadside buckets w the pickup.
Interesting firewood observations. I worked up one basswood log a couple years ago & it was so stringy I decided the proper use of basswood was forest floor compost. I will have to try it again. I have plenty of poplar and junk pine as well.
Emptied my buckets about 7 tonight when I got home from boiling. It was that late-in-the-day Spring light and not really cold, the kind of weather & time of day that it’s real nice to be outside sugaring…
MarkMarch 23, 2014 at 4:18 pm #82878
Same here Mark, the best weekend we have ever had for Maple Weekend. Made 19 sleigh ride trips with the horses between yesterday and today. The horses were great and the snow conditions were just right for rides through the woods. Great neighbors and friends to help out in the sugar house. We had sap to boil as well. It was good to gather yesterday evening so we could boil today. We had visitors from all over NH thanks to the great job the NH Maple Producers Association did promoting the event.
Hope you all have sap to boil.
EDMarch 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm #82881
We made it out to 6 Mass sugar houses with restaurants yesterday. We got a ton of great ideas for our operation and met some great sugarmakers. Thursday was our best run yet, with 2,200 gallons to the boiler. Yesterday was good too, good thing father was home to watch the cows and vacuum systems.March 29, 2014 at 6:14 am #82912
Well this season is starting to worry me. I am usually a pretty optimistic guy but think it is going to be a poor season. I have not gathered in 7 days. It has been to cold with no sap flow. Now the temps are up and still very little.
We are at about 10% of last years production and I have been taped for 4 weeks. It is a race against mother nature now in terms of weather. Too much warmth will seal the tap holes and bring it to an end.
How is everyone else fairing?
EdMarch 29, 2014 at 7:09 am #82913
have not made a drop of syrup too much cold wind here now fog and rain
BillMarch 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm #82915
WE (Tucker Mountain Maple)made 40 gallons of medium today, with our own & purchased sap. It was running 2.7-3.2 %. I have about 30 buckets set out here & have gotten about 45 gallons all year from those. No encouraging. It is the bushes on vacuum that are running, no surprise.
I still can’t decide if, because of the weather, the season just hasn’t started or is about over. However, the calendar is going to get us soon, regardless.
MarkApril 1, 2014 at 6:04 am #82928
Have boiled last 3 days, making almost as much as we had made up to that point. Making a barely Dark syrup w good flavor. Sugar content of sap down to 1.4 from 2.5, possibly due at least in part to rain water contamination. Keeping our fingers crossed for next 4 days, forecast looking grim for sugaring beyond that.
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