The New Maple Sugaring Set Up
With just a few warm(ish) days, the snow pack has melted significantly since Kirk first dug out a place for the fire pit on the patio back in February:
And, as you can see, Kirk set up the fire pit and our evaporator system to start boiling sap today. Last year we used any old bricks we had lying around for the floor, but today Kirk bought some fire bricks for an upgrade:
Now the cinderblock box has a fireproof floor to protect the patio and an inner wall to protect the cinderblocks. It makes the area for firewood smaller, but I think it's better insulated, so it produces just as much heat.
This is normally a weekend project, but Kirk had off today, so he decided to get a jump on boiling our first 7 gallons of sap before more sleet and snow arrive over the weekend.
We cannot catch a break on the weather.
Despite the fact that it is still most definitely winter, we're slowly but surely getting our spring projects underway. As I write this, the sap is on the cusp of becoming syrup and is now in a big pot on the stove to finish the job (a thermometer and better temperature control is important, as explained here). The fire outside is down to embers, and we are getting ready for chicken soup and dumplings. All stock pots have been enlisted and the house is pleasantly steamy and aromatic.
We'll jar up the syrup tomorrow and be ready for pancakes on Sunday!