This winter has been hard...no doubt about it.
I tried to be optimistic for several months.
It just got harder and harder to find the wonder in the winter season.
Our backs were sore from shoveling what felt like tons of snow.
Our roof was starting to bend under the strain.
We didn't have the normal January thaw.
The deep freeze just kept on coming...
The weather networks kept coming up with new ways to say the same thing:
In other words...extremely cold and so much snow that travel became non existent.
Then the time came to tap the neighbouring sugar maples.
It felt like we would never make it!
The light at the end of the wintry tunnel.
But the weeks wore on, and the temps were too cold.
The maple tapping would wait 2 weeks after we would normally be
getting a sap surplus.
The winds didn't cooperate either.
By the time we got the temperatures for collecting the running sap,
The winds made having a campfire almost prohibitive.
Ches was forced to construct a make shift cabin around the pit.
Halfway to a sugar shack!
He also employed a piece of metal scavenged from a friend.
The wind barrier keeps the heat from escaping too much.
The foil keeps out the ashes but still allows the steam to escape.
The temperatures this spring made sure we didn't collect as much sap as last year.
That just means we can't give any mason jars away...sadly.
We bring the pots inside when they are close to being done.
That's when you get a chance to strain the sap while pouring it into smaller pot.
We use an old fashions metal sieve with a wad of cheesecloth.
The cheesecloth is a wondrous thing!
You can rinse and re-use it over and over.
Talk about keeping your overall costs down.
We haven't bought a single thing (ok $3.00 for cheesecloth)
since last year's original investment of around $140 taxes included.
Essentially, this year's maple syrup is free!