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Author Topic: Maple Sugar 2023  (Read 5281 times)

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Offline Corley5

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #80 on: February 24, 2023, 09:34:54 AM »
Hasn't really been syrup weather up here yet. There's been a couple runs but nothing worth firing up and then having to keep the sugar house heated to keep the water and RO from freezing and worrying about bacteria blooms in the flue pan. Looking at the extended forecast mid March looks like syrup season for us.
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Offline DbltreeBelgians

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #81 on: February 24, 2023, 02:26:06 PM »
We tapped feb 11. Not as much sap
Here as Id hoped for. Shoulda tapped sooner but busy with log stuff. Low sugar content here and high sugar sand. As far as the sand goes though I think its big and easy to
Filter out. The first day boiling we started with fresh pans so we only made about 3 gallon and we were drawing off into a cone prefilter in a milk can. Out of just that 3 gallon of syrup we got roughly 4 cups of sugar sand out of it 👎🏿. Others around here are sayin the same thing about low sugar and lots of sand.  We have a filter press so the sand doesnt bother me Too much.  I considered not even runnin a cone filter under the draw off cause we have a filter press but with that much sand I decided to. The press is still new to us and Im wondering if that volume of sand would give us issues. Its a 4 bank 7 with electric diaphragm pump. What yall think?
Ill second the high sugar sand. I got a lot of sand in the cone filter on my first batch. On my last batch I filtered and started to bottle some up and noticed it was cloudy. I could see the sand on the side of a glass measuring cup. There wasnt anything what to speak of in the filters. As you can tell Im pretty knew at this so I will ask the people in the know, can you filter too hot and that allow the sand to pass right through the filters? I use a cone filter with 2 pre filters in the main filter. When the first filter starts to get a lot of buildup Ill pull it and continue with just one pre filter. On my high sand last batch I refiltered at a much lower temp and the syrup cleared up and I caught the sand. Ive not had that happen before so my thought is I filtered too hot. Can someone shed a little light on the subject for me please.

Brent 

Offline chep

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #82 on: February 24, 2023, 03:08:04 PM »
There's a thingamajig out there that consists of some wires to essentially make your cone filter not quite a cone. So there is more surface area for the syrup to run through. Google "cone filter optimizer"

That being said i quit the cone and went flat filter


Offline celliott

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #83 on: February 24, 2023, 04:49:47 PM »
Boy do we operate in different worlds chris! I'd like to taste the syrup you guys make sometime for a comparison thanks for the pics showing off the industrial side of the sugaring world though. People who have no clue still think the cute pic on the jug of guys with horses and buckets are how syrup is made... how wrong they are. Pipelines, hi vac, r.o ,steam evaporators, auto draw offs and barrels. Those consumers wouldn't recognize the process if they saw it I bet!!

Only a handful of people still make syrup the old fashioned way, and I guess I'll prob be one of those guys for most of my life I guess!
Stop up sometime! We typically go to late April.
Yes the image of sugaring is not the same as what many producers do now. However the product is the same. 
Someone told me about old fashioned way VS new high tech- are you interested in the process or the product? Because the process has changed drastically, but the product is still the same. Maple sap is boiled to 66 brix and syrup is produced. Nothing added.
The new fashioned way is just as hard, probably harder, we just plan to do way more per man, and make more per tap. We keep about 14 people employed year round with some seasonal. The maple industry in Vermont is certainly not shrinking, and advances in technology allow us to keep growing. 
Wed burn an astronomical amount of cords of wood, or 300,000 gallons of fuel oil per year without reverse osmosis!
Chris Elliott

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #84 on: February 24, 2023, 04:57:31 PM »
Like Corley, we have been in cold for a week and going to stay cold another week. Only melting here is where sand and gravel is exposed on the ground and eves of roofs the sun hits. Not sap flow weather at all. A week ago the alarmist bunch had a couple warm days to spout about, never said a peep since and probably not until the next warm day or ice storm. I've seen ice storms every winter in my 55 years around here. 1998 was the worst one in memory. 1981 was the mildest winter in my memory, since non native locust trees leaved out in Feb. Never seen it since.
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Offline chep

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #85 on: February 24, 2023, 06:39:07 PM »
@celliot 

Actually I was up there last Saturday for some containers.  It was right at noon and I was lucky Ricky helped me at all! I usually have him bring stuff home for me because my fatherin law is his neighbor. But yes I would love a tour of the boil room!! 
And back at you if you ever have the time come down to bradford we can hang out in an old fashion sugarhouse, something I'm sure you guys at work aren't used too much. I hear glen keeps ya hustling! 


Offline Plankton

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #86 on: February 24, 2023, 07:02:13 PM »
Froze up here as well had a good first run made around 400 gals. Vacuums dialed in and nice little break for it looks like all next week

Offline celliott

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #87 on: February 24, 2023, 08:57:44 PM »
@celliot

Actually I was up there last Saturday for some containers.  It was right at noon and I was lucky Ricky helped me at all! I usually have him bring stuff home for me because my fatherin law is his neighbor. But yes I would love a tour of the boil room!!
And back at you if you ever have the time come down to bradford we can hang out in an old fashion sugarhouse, something I'm sure you guys at work aren't used too much. I hear glen keeps ya hustling!
Glen always says, Ricky either knows everybody or is related to everybody lol we got done tapping nearby to the Cabot sugarhouse a little early today and stopped back in, they were busy out back. We start early but way more people are starting now and getting stuff they shouldve last spring. Can we get a stainless tank? Yeah, next year maybe!
I did get to help out with an old wood fired arch last year one day. I setup a woods in strafford for some people and came down to teach them about fixing vacuum leaks. It was a nice pace. My great uncle got an RO just a few years ago but I still enjoy visiting his place in Westmore too.
I think these days its me who keeps everyone hustling. It can be tricky pointing 12 guys in the right direction every day. Glenn challenges us to drown him in sap and we keep trying. Weve succeeded a few times when he can barely keep up!
Chris Elliott

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Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline celliott

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #88 on: March 17, 2023, 07:55:22 PM »
Well, it’s been a slow start to the season. Couple borderline temperatures with a dumping of snow and we’re off like a herd of turtles.
We started to add in a not very nice section we had passed over and said “we got better things to do before that” well, we ran out of better things to do lol steep nasty gully up to a swamp of so-so red maples. The place sugaring dreams are made of  oh well. Something to do. Figure we’ll add on 700 or so taps. Temps next week look promising but it’s been a slow last couple weeks. Looking more and more like it will be a short, intense season.
Snow has already dropped almost a foot, we were approaching 4’ at this stake. I know our high elevation north slopes are over 5’. Lots of mainline and tubing buried in the snow, we’ve shoveled all our road crossings at least 4 times this year, hopefully this is the last!
Sugar today was up to 2.2%, so we got that going for us at least!

























This is my brother, if you look on the other side of the gully you’ll see me struggling up the hill with a lateral line




Chris Elliott

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Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #89 on: March 18, 2023, 04:18:41 AM »
And you thought there wasn't going to be much snow. ;D

I've not seen any boiling here yet. And going to be colder here this coming week. Snowing now, but not much of a storm. Widow screens are covered in snow though.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

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2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))

Offline Magicman

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #90 on: March 18, 2023, 08:43:44 AM »
OK Chris I'll ask, how did you get to the snow gauge?  :D
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Offline Corley5

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #91 on: March 18, 2023, 09:22:25 AM »
We've got about a 100 gallons finished. Had a couple fast and furious runs and a couple long slow runs.
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Offline celliott

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #92 on: March 18, 2023, 10:30:00 AM »
OK Chris I'll ask, how did you get to the snow gauge?  :D
We have a few snow capable vehicle. A pisten bully snowcat, 2 skidoo skandics with 20 wide tracks, a Yamaha vk540, and a tracked can am 6x6
I jumped off the skandic for this picture.
We have said, we should have the snow stake on our highest elevation, north slope system. Thats where its the deepest. But no one wants to go up there lol


Chris Elliott

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Offline Magicman

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #93 on: March 18, 2023, 11:04:15 AM »
I knew that you jumped off but I wanted to hear it from you.  You do get 10 points because you stuck the landing.  thumbs-up

Keep up the updates because your world is so much different than anything that I will ever see.  :)
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Offline GAB

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #94 on: March 18, 2023, 12:41:32 PM »
Maple syrup is one of those products that after the first opening of a container (breaking the seal) needs to be refridgerated.  Recently we emptied a quart jar that had been in the fridge for some time, because it does not take much to occasionally sweeten tea.  This jar had crystals in the bottom.  Now not being too bright I reached and pulled out another jar with the same year and batch code and there were no crystals in it.  So my question is: does opening and closing a jar of syrup cause it to start crystallizing? 
GAB
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #95 on: March 18, 2023, 01:47:08 PM »
good question GAB, I would say yes, because you see it. I wonder if it is the air you let in helping crystallize it.  Normally We will see personal syrup crystallize as we tend to take ours a little past syrup...just incase! ;D

We spent yesterday trying to find leaks, 2 squirrel chews helped but we only got 10" of vacuum.
It s going to be one of those years. Too cold to find the problems.  
We finally pumped up 150 gallons of sap last night. We had been waiting for more  to run, but winter will not let go.  This sap ran last week in dribs and drabs, the tanks all have big chunks of ice. At least we will have ice to keep the sap fresher if it ever does warm up. 
Our prime season is usually last week of March and 1st week of April. 

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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #96 on: March 18, 2023, 06:38:10 PM »
The sugar crystals are also formed by evaporation of water from the syrup.

Occasionally we would find a taste of processed maple syrup in the bottom of a bucket still hanging on a spout!

What causes that is when conditions are right, air will move across the bucket under the lid and cause the water to evaporate, leaving a little taste of syrup.
~Chuck~
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Offline OH logger

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #97 on: March 19, 2023, 04:27:53 PM »
Just about done here. Id say by the end of the day Tuesday well be done by lookin at the weather forecast. Well be somewhere over a quart per tap. Im satisfied with that being on gravity and buckets. Our year was longer than most (5-6 weeks) annd was slow and easy to keep up with the flow for sure.  Isnt that about average for gravity? 

Offline GAB

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #98 on: March 19, 2023, 07:48:07 PM »
Just about done here. Id say by the end of the day Tuesday well be done by lookin at the weather forecast. Well be somewhere over a quart per tap. Im satisfied with that being on gravity and buckets. Our year was longer than most (5-6 weeks) annd was slow and easy to keep up with the flow for sure.  Isnt that about average for gravity?
Here in northern Vermont the old timers rule of thumb (1960's) was a quart of syrup per tap per year on a good year.
GAB
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Maple Sugar 2023
« Reply #99 on: March 25, 2023, 08:35:01 AM »
I'm thinking that it's almost done here too!

Not much snow left, and lots of seasonal birds are returning, lots of Robins, Starlings, even saw a Turkey Vulture.
~Chuck~
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Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain a Wood-Mizer


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