Sunday, March 4, 2012

Maple Syrup: Ready!

Okay, Maple syrup is damn hard work...  I think most people know this, especially those who buy a case of the stuff.  I'm really hoping there are no militant maple syrup consumers (MMSC's) reading this, but these people know it is a tough row to hoe.  Regardless, they want their damn 12 litres and they don't want any damn excuses, or they are coming over with their damn Uzi for a final discussion...

You think I'm joking.  I laugh when I hear about maple syrup getting exorbitant prices in Tokyo, or the French culinary masters who would commit ritual sepuku if they could not source the maple nectar.  (Nice tie-in, that Japanese connection, eh?)  The media has yet to publish details on the dark side of maple syrup.  I have had "customers" phone me twice a day, to find out exactly when their 18 medium and 6 amber litres will be ready.  A "friend", who is currently working in Hong Kong, is expecting his 6 litres of light and 6 of medium, any moment now.  His is combing the Ontario forecasts and maple syrup news bulletins to pinpoint when I will have produced the first medium batch...  Joe:  It is almost ready!

So I now play my maple syrup production progress cards close to my chest.  I don't want to be the reason the dark side is made public information.  "Oh he was definitely up to no good.  The maple syrup production must have simply been a cover.  Otherwise, the Albanian secret service would not have offed him in such a spectacular way".

I took 2 days off last week, to tap and ready the evaporator.  Daryl, my son-in-law, was a huge help on Friday, tapping the remaining 150 of 250 taps and readying the main lines.  Lily, my step-daughter and my grandchildren Hannah and Griffin, were also up for the day, although I don't think Lily had as good a time, giving the challenge of looking after 2 children out in the elements.  I hope they come up when the evaporator is running and the parenting duties can be shared!

Saturday was a short day at the shack (I had to weld a stay onto the snowblower during the morning) as there was a gale force wind and driving snow.  I parked in my neighbor's driveway, as it was not safe to leave the car on the road, due to whiteouts.

Sunday was a day of final preparations, cleaning the totes (I have 3 - 1,000 litre containers used to store sap), checking the evaporator for leaks (and boil 120 litres of water for cleaning) and having that first rum & coke at the shack.  When the evaporator is running, the rum is combined with near-syrup from the finishing pan for a lethal drink.  Do not drink 2 of these, then try to operate equipment, such as your legs.

So, 4 days of snowshoeing in the bush.  Believe it or not, the bush has 3 - 4 feet of snow!  I also shovelled the roof, fire pit, under a mainline (so that snowmobiles can get through), some mainlines low enough to be touching the snow, totes, the Mad river (not the whole thing, just where I draw water for cleaning) and the 3 doors to the sugar shack...  I should invite more people up before the season gets going!  Mind you, it would be the last time I see them!

So, my best guess is that I will start to boil is this Wednesday!  I have an MRI for my knee at 09:00 on Wednesday, then back to the shack to crank up the evap.

Running:  Nothing this weekend (re-read the part about trudging through 3 feet of snow for 6 hours a day) but hope to get out tomorrow and Tuesday.  Note!  I have run trails throughout December, January and February, but in early March, the trails now have too much snow!  I might still go out and tramp a trail, and win my obscure contest of trail running in Creemore - for bragging rights!

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