First of all, apologies for taking awhile between posts! Christmas Break went generally well and we haven’t really had any snow days, so didn’t have much to say, to be honest (kids are fine, school is moving along, etc., etc.). However, now that we’re on the other side of maple syrup season, it was time to try out the new fire pit Brooke constructed last Fall.
Over the past few years, we’ve been relying primarily on propane to boil down the sap collected from the maple trees in our yard, but we wanted to try not burning fossil fuels in the process of making our own syrup (seemed somewhat antithetical). The weather has been remarkably good these past few weekends, so we had a few chances to burn some of the firewood we’ve collected from trimming trees in the yard.
Brooke picked up a few serving platters last Summer, partially for Oktoberfest and other hosting duties, but also to help add some surface area to the boiling vessels, hopefully boiling off sap more efficiently. It largely worked, and we were able to burn down sap relatively quickly! …..once the fire got started… Both days, it took a lot longer to get a fire going than we expected, meaning we didn’t really get started with the process until the afternoon.
Again, the weather was so pleasant, it was a nice reprieve from a normal February (though the implications of warmer and warmer Winters is terrifying for a host of other reasons). Still, sitting outside with a beer and a fire isn’t a bad way to spend a weekend.
Brooke also took a hacksaw to the gourds she grew this Summer. Most of them have been inside in our basement drying out, though she left a few outside…because frankly we didn’t notice them, so they’ve just been hanging out? She cut the tops off and ended up with some hollow gourds! The plan is to cut up some of the others and make bowls eventually, but she kind of tested the process this weekend. More on that in the future!
Brooke spent a few hours today refining the sap, heating it to the correct temperature (she plugged info into an online calculator this time, taking atmospheric pressure into account to target the correct boiling point, while not crystallizing the syrup). She ended up with just under 2 gallons, which is better than the 1.13 gallons we got last year. We still ended up going through almost two propane tanks, and more firewood, so again, was it worth it? Dunno.
But I got to have a few beers next to a fire in February. Not too shabby.