Boiling that Sap Down to Syrup Takes Time, But What Pleasure!
It's such great fun to be in the outdoors this time of year, especially when in the company of friends who like to work hard collecting sap from galvanized buckets hanging off maple tree trunks then boiling it down into syrup. These guys, yup, all guys this year, are out to have a good time and enjoy Mother Nature's bounty of transparent liquid turned to sweet gold with a bit of fire and a lot of time.
Inside this little "chapel in the woods," the sugar house and its arch where the boilin' happens.
Ever want to see what a sugar house looks like from the inside? Below are a whole bunch of photos that will help you get the feel of the space. But what you won't know is just how fine a process it is to make syrup—checking the temperature at each stage of boiling, loading wood and keeping the fire going, collecting sap, using a hydrometer to know when the sap has become syrup, using the big, flat spoon to test for how the syrup sheets off it to know for sure it's syrup and not still sap that's too thin to put on your pancakes, watching the bubbles get finer, then larger, then finer again as the liquid gold flows through the compartments of the arch as it boils away, smelling that sweet smell of the steam, knowing everyone in the sugar house is there because they want to just get away for a day. All of these things go into the making of a gallon of maple syrup. It takes hours just to make a few gallons, but the experience is worth the wait and the taste of that sweet liquid on your tongue is just Ahhhhhh, so good!
A heart motif cut into the peak. These guys do love their time out in the woods sugaring!
As you might guess, it's not ALL about the syrup. It's really all about a sense of community shared among friends AND the syrup! It's all so sweet I just had to write about it for you. Enjoy the below photos, and let me know if you have some of your own sugarin' experiences to share in the comment section below...
Working in tandem over the steamy arch as it boils the sap's water away to syrup. Sap is just 2 percent sugar!
An early dinner...hot dogs cooked vertically in front of the fire!
Buckets stand at the ready for collecting sap later in the day.
A silent corner of the sugar house. Old things on display.
Sugarers are true naturalists. This monarch was found last fall. A lovely window decoration for all to enjoy.
Loading the wood stove's gaping maw beneath the arch. A near-constant feeding frenzy.
Must have a big-ole friendly dog that loves chewing sticks!
The never-ending splitting of wood.
Sticks picked up from a furniture maker. Free BTU's!
Of course a beer or two helps the time pass...I've never seen a 'dry' sugar house!
Outside's temperature gauge. It was plenty warm, and the sap flowed and flowed all day!
It's a small and compact sugar house, with sugarin' happening in the world-world way, but there are plenty who love it!
Dave Celone of E. Thetford, VT writes as Poetic Licence here on the dailyuv.com on many things great and small that impact the Upper Valley region of NH and VT. Please leave a comment or question below if you wish. And please do click on the blue Subscribe button above to sign up to receive the occasional post from PoeticLicence in your email inbox. Thanks for reading!