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Monday, March 22, 2010

Helping neighbors

To day I went to work in the neighbors sugar bush. With the warm wether we had last week the tap holes dried up especially on the south slopes.So I had to re drill and put the spiles on the north side of the maple trees. Marilla Hills Maple Syrup is owned by the Howes brothers,Rich and Roll. Roll was in a car crash this winter, and Rich had back surgery. So me and others have been helping them out this season with their maple syrup business.
This is their sap evaporator it is wood fired
This is inside one of the two pump houses that house the pump and separators. The pumps pump sap over the hills and into the holding tanks at the sugar house. The separator keeps the sap out of the vacuum line. The vacuum is generated by the same vacuum pump they use in commercial dairies to milk the cows. This helps the sap flow better through the miles of sap lines that criss-cross up and down the hills of the sugar bush.
One of the thing I had to do was go inside the bulk tank to hose it out!
This is the out side of the tank it is an old milk truck tank.
Sap being pumped into a water trough down at the pump house. Usually we hook this line to the main line that goes to the the bulk tank. Since the lines are black the sap heats up and starts to ferment on a warm day. So we had it hooked up so it would go in to the water tank and then pump the sap in to a tank on the back of Roll's truck.
This is the R O(revers osmosis) device, it takes some of the water out of the sap before it is boiled down into syrup
This is the concentrated sap that comes out of the R O
From there the sap goes to the evaporator. You can't see much of what is going under all that stainless steal. All the steam is put to good use be for for it goes out the stack. It preheats the sap and any steam that condenses be comes hot water and is used to keep the finished syrup hot while filtering. The pans in front are called finishing pans and there is an electronic probe that can be set at the right temperature. When it is right it automatically draws off some syrup and into a pot on the right side in the picture.
The sugar house with steam coming out the stacks
I went to the top of the hill to have lunch and took this picture. It is looking down on our farm. The snow covered peak in the dissidence is Caberfae peaks ski resort it is 1545 feet above sea level with a 485 foot vertical drop. I've never skied here but have went to another ski hill near by called Crystal mountain.
When I got home I did the animal chores and watered the plants in the hot bed.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking time out to get that "over the top shot" David- it is interesting to view things from the other side of the road. I'm glad to see the ol camera alive and well!

Kimberly said...

That is very interesting. I guess I thought people still got the sap the old fashioned way. Having all those tubes and the big tank looks a lot more efficient.

David said...

people still gather sap the old fashioned way. But they might use plastic or metal buckets instead of wood or bark containers. And they might use a pickup or tractor in instead of a sled pulled by a team of horses or oxen. They might use a pan on a homemade fire box instead of a kettle hung over a open fire. It depends on what you want to call old fashioned! We at our farm do it the "old" way. We use a 1948 8N Ford tractor, plastic barrels and a plastic bucket with a tube at each tree. And we boil it down in a simple stainless steel flat pan on a homemade fire box made out of an old fuel oil tank.