Here on the farm we are constantly learning and trying out new ideas on our 2 1/2 acres. We have been blessed to be able to: grow a garden, acquire two dairy goats, fill a tool shed with our very own laying chickens, have our own meat-chicken business, raise multiples of abandoned fledglings, and most recently, make our own apple cider. We are very grateful to God for his constant provision and guidance, and His hand was clearly shown in our latest venture - that of making maple syrup.
Last summer we were very blessed to be able to meet a young Christian family who were selling blueberries. We became good friends, and were delighted to learn that they tapped the trees on their property and made maple syrup. They promised they would let us know come spring, and that we could help them out. Well, not only did they let us help them out (Josiah went and worked two full days with them) but they were so kind as to give us the equipment to tap our own trees!
So on the next sunny day, Josiah trudged out with a drill and the bag of supplies, and began to "tap" our huenormous maple tree out back by the pond.
As soon as Josiah made the hole the sap started running. We quickly slid the bags on, and with a pat for the tree, left it to collect.
This tree is HUGE! I mean, we are talking 5-7 separate trunks, all the size of a large healthy tree themselves. So it had no trouble filling all 8 of the bags we put on. In fact, we later upped it to 10 taps. On one tree! That is unheard of.
In one day (with perfect tapping weather) we had collected nearly 10 gallons of sap, so we began to contemplate just how exactly we were going to turn this "tree blood" (Faith's name for sap:) into a pancake topper.
After a day of making rounds with Mr. Reiche visiting all his "sappy" friends, we found ourselves the proud possessors of an old burning barrel (with holes) a heavy duty pot, and a rickety stove pipe. In other words, we had a first rate evaporation station.
Beginning early in the morning, we stoked up the fire and began to boil down the sap.
All day long we kept the fire going and the sap boiling. If the sap stopped bubbling, we had to add wood and get the fire burning again.
In the evening we brought the soon to be syrup, inside for the finishing process.
Once the syrup had come to the right temperature and consistency, we canned the syrup all ready for the next pancake breakfast.
So Saturday morning we invited Mr. Reiche over for breakfast to taste our syrup and give judgement on its quality.
It was delicious!! We are very grateful for all the help we had in our making of syrup, and are very happy that our tree is doing so well and giving us so much sap. We were blessed to be able to do two batches of syrup and hope to boil down one more time before the season ends.