Things Are Looking Up

After a pretty bad day in the woods yesterday, I got back on track today. Alice and I are both fighting bad colds, and wisely stayed close to home and warm until a bit after noon.

My first job after snowshoeing out there with several gallons of clean water was to empty all the burned gunky liquid in the evaporator. It was hard to dump all that work onto the snow, but it was cathartic too. Once it was done, all I could do was move forward. I’d brought a stainless steel Choreboy(tm), some BarKeeper’s Friend(tm), and most importantly as it turned out, the wire brush for my cordless drill. I want to tell you, when you burn syrup in the pan, it is the devil’s own project to get it off. I started with elbow grease, and wound up going over and over it with the wire brush and drill until all traces of the black crap were gone.

Then I carted in several buckets of clean show and started a small fire in the firebox. Once that warmed up, I rinsed everything completely until the inside of the pan shined again, and added some fresh sap. I poked up the fire, and slowly the sugary steam once again filled the shack. I say filled because I forgot to open the end vents. Once opened, the shack stopped looking like London and got back to normal.

I did sections of the gather while things were warming up, and didn’t give too much thought to how much sap was accumulating. When I completed my rounds, I peeked inside the barrel, and estimated I had about 35 gallons of sap. That means about 7 hours of boiling before I can gather any more. It is a nice problem to have. I was just emailing a friend today, and told him that I thought the work I do in the woods during the maple season is my favorite.

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