Sapping {Part Two}

Hello, friends!

I hope you are all having a lovely week! Today, I bring you the next part in my tapping trees series. If you missed part one, you can check it out right here.

(This post is shorter than usual to due to some internet problems. That is also why this post is out on Monday instead of Friday. )

Once we tap the trees, we have to do multiple rounds of collecting each week. We usually go up two-three times a week and bring buckets of sap down.

We first run around checking buckets in our main grove and seeing which ones have sap in them. Zekey is over heading over to check buckets in this picture.

Once we check the buckets, we bring new (empty) buckets over and pull the full buckets off the trees.

Then, we pour the sap into an empty bucket.

Once it’s in, we put a lid on it and carry it over to the Ranger. (Before we had our Ranger, we would carry all the buckets down the hill.)

From there, we load up the buckets and repeat with each of the trees.

One evening, we went collecting right as the sun was setting, it was so pretty! I love how the sun is shining through the trees here.

And also, this one! All the pine-trees make it even more beautiful. ❀

Once we’re done with the collecting, we drive all the buckets down in the Ranger and bring them into the mudroom, where we have our Reverse Osmosis (RO) set up. And for this part, we have a video! It’s not the greatest, but you get the picture from watching it. So here it is!

Did you enjoy the video? I hope it was interesting and made sense. =D The reverse osmosis process removes about half of the water from the sap. Typically in reverse osmosis one would want to keep the clear freshwater, but in our case, we want to keep the sweet more concentrated sap instead.

After we run it through the RO, we bring it back outside to the boiler. The sap sits in a large pan (about 3 feet by 3 feet and 12 inches deep) on top of the stove. We boil the sap so it lets out steam for the sugar content to increase and the water content to decrease. It takes about 35-40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

It takes a LOT of wood, so dad and the twins were splitting it while we were boiling.

We keep adding sap to the boiler as it boils to continue the process of removing water. We boiled for about 13 hours to boil around 80 gallons of sap into about 4 gallons of syrup. (The RO removed the first 80 gallons of water for us.)

And we’re going to stop there! In the next post in this series, I’ll share the bottling and finishing process, as well as the sign-up for the giveaway. Expect that in the next two or three weeks!

What’s your favorite thing to put syrup on? Do you have any questions about the process?

Thank you so much for reading, friends, and have a wonderful day!

Sapping {Part One}

Hello, my friends!

My family taps our maple trees every year for syrup, we’ve been tapping for 8 years now. It’s always an adventure. Anyhow, this year, I thought I’d share our maple syrup-making adventures.

To start, we had to clear all the snow off to make room for all the buckets. I think this is the most snow we’ve ever had when tapping. Here’s Zekey with his little shovel. He’s too cute in my opinion. =D

Then, we had to move the buckets from the garage to the house so we could wash them.

The Buckets in the garage

Look at how much snow we have!

The buckets were quite dirty and all needed a good scrubbing after sitting in the garage for a year. Levi found a mouse in one of them. Eek! That bucket definitely got some extra washing. πŸ˜…

While we were carrying them in, Mom started washing. Most years we would use the hose to clean the buckets, but it was too cold and snowy for that so we brought them into the mudroom and used the sink in there.

Once we got all the buckets moved to the house, I went and sat in a tree until it was my turn to help wash.

Sorry for the terrible photo. πŸ˜…

Partway through my break of sitting in the tree, I was called to help load all the buckets into the Ranger so we could move them up to the trees easier.

Once we loaded all the clean buckets, Malachi drove them up to our Maple Grove (Where most of our trees are at), and I was called to finish cleaning the last few buckets.

I finished the last buckets and we loaded them up for a second trip up. (Just so you know, the garbage bag has lids, not garbage in it.).

Then, we drove up to the Maple Grove and unloaded all the buckets.

Now onto the real tapping! We started by finding a tree, and then Dad used the drill to make a hole in the tree for the tap to go into.

Once we had a hole, Luke held the woodblock for Mercy while she pounded the tap in. (The tap is hiding behind the woodblock in this photo.)

A photo where you the tap is not invisible.

And then the finished product!

Wait, this is actually the finished product. The Maple Grove full of trees with buckets on them, and extra buckets for collecting the sap later.

Have you ever tapped trees before? What’s your favorite photo from this post?

Thanks for reading, friends!

P.S. I’m planning to give away a bottle of our syrup (and maybe some maple candy!) at the end of this series. What do you think about that? More details + how to enter will be in my next post in the series. =D

A Winter Day in the Woods

Hello, my friends!

On Saturday, my siblings, and I ventured into the woods and played hide and go seek, had a log rolling contest (not the normal log rolling contest – Something a bit different!), wandered around in the woods, enjoyed the spring-like weather in February (although Winter has now returned.) and generally had a blast.

Here are a few photos. Not the prettiest because the woods are dead and brown right now but there are a few fun ones in there.

We’ll start with while we’re walking there. . .

Walking in the woods

I love this one of my youngest brother, Zekey. And the black and white version makes it even cooler in my opinion.

Here is one of the trails, we call Maple Grove because it’s where a lot of our maple trees are at. It all looks kind of dead right now though, in the spring, summer, and fall it’s pretty.

I made Mercy pause and let me get this one of her. . .she wasn’t supposed to stop walking all together though, just stop running, but we’ll go with it. πŸ˜‚

The Log Rolling Contest

Alright, so we had two stacks of wood, one on the top of the hill, and the other at the bottom. Mom had the brilliant idea to have a contest to see which of the kids could get the most to the stack at the bottom. . .

They were trying to get the wood down this path. Note I said they. . .I opted out and just stood at the bottom grabbing random photos of them and dodging pieces of wood and younger siblings.

Onto the actual photos. . .

I’m not exactly sure what happened in this photo. . . I think Jewel slipped but I’m not 100 percent sure. . .anyway, I thought it was kinda cool how her boots stirred up the snow.

I can’t tell and I don’t remember if he fell or if he was crawling on purpose, after all, it was a decently steep hill (despite how the photo made it look) and it was snowy and icy. So he might have fallen or found the sliding was faster but I have no idea.

A random floating chunk of wood. I think one of the kids dropped it on the way down. . .

And the fruit of their labors. . .a neat stack of wood at the bottom of the hill. Overall I think the log rolling went pretty well! :’D

Hide and Go Seek

Next activity! Hide and go seek! Luke started out as the finder so all of scurried to find our hiding spots.

I hid in this mess of tangled vines and such. . .it was poky but thankfully I came out unscathed.

Can you find Mercy? πŸ˜‚

My hiding place for the second round which Jewel and Levi were the seekers for. This spot was better and just hit myself between the trees. Much more comfortable and less poky.

One of Luke hiding by the creek! He was actually better hidden than the photo shows.

Random Tidbits

Just a few random photos I caught from that day.

I love this one so much! The tiny pine cones and the trees in the background, despite the saggy winter evergreen branches it is pretty.

Here’s Luke (Wow, I took a lot of him. . .) climbing up into the tree house up there that they’ve been working on fixing up.

And we’ll end with this one of Mercy swinging! (There was one of me that Mercy took but I can’t find it now. πŸ˜…) I love the shadow on the ground.

Overall, it was a really fun day! I enjoyed having a bit of spring in the middle of February. (And now winter’s back–it’s snowing and cold outside right now.)

Did you enjoy seeing all the photos? What was your favorite? Do you like spending time in the woods?

P.S. As you probably noticed, I’ve been playing with my blog design again because I didn’t like how it looked before. So please bear with me as I change it around and find a style I like. πŸ˜… I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you think it looks too. :’D