Saturday, March 14, 2009

MiddleMarch

Today it was sunny and warmed up to 50 degrees F -quite an improvement from two days ago when it was 5 below zero! The weather was perfect for tapping the trees to make maple syrup. We hung ten buckets on our biggest maple trees to collect the sap.


After drilling a small hole into the trunk, a spout called a "spile," is pushed into the hole. The plastic spiles we are using have a hook for hanging the bucket. Sap began to drip into the buckets immediately. It tastes like faintly sweet water.


We have collected about 4 gallons of sap so far. We are boiling the sap in a large metal roasting pan set on a rack over a wood fire. I fed the fire and simmered the syrup all day to evaporate the water and concentrate the flavor. For sugar maples, it takes 30 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. We only have silver maples and box elders, which also can be used to make maple syrup but the sap has only half as much sugar, so we will have to boil down 60 gallons to get one gallon of syrup. We'll be boiling for days. When it is almost done, we will strain it and finish cooking it in the house over the stove so it doesn't scorch.
A little kitty kept me company while I tended the fire. Yesterday, Cadence and I visited the dairy farm across the road to inquire about the possibility of getting a couple of boy calves to raise as steers. (More about that in a future post.) The dairy farm has innumerable farm cats and kittens, and when we walked home a fluffy gold cat with pumpkin-colored eyes insisted on following us. This morning he was still here, waiting for us in the barn.
The dogs chased him into a tree a few times, but he is a pretty self-possessed little cat and wasn't really phased by them.
I think he has adopted us.

Maybe we need a farm cat. Our two very old cats are pampered house cats.

I don't think the dairy farmers will miss him, but we'll give them a call tomorrow.



While I boiled syrup, Cadence worked on insulating the granary, which she is transforming into a cabin to live in this summer and Rog spread gravel in the mucky parts of the driveway.
THREE FABULOUS SIGNS OF SPRING TODAY:
  1. First robin in the yard!
  2. 15 crocuses just barely poking through the ground on the east side of the house!
  3. Redwinged blackbirds in the marshy ditch across the road singing Okalee song!

1 comment:

Pusepilde said...

60 galloms is quite a lot, isn't it?
How much sap do you get from each tree?

Cute cat!
I accidentally played the birdsong and instantly had a cat right beside me :-D

Best springwishes,
Hilde