Rusty’s dad contributed his three by five foot evaporating pan, as well as a hand brace for drilling holes in the maple trees. The crew acquired tubing and connectors from the plumbing shop and glass gallon jars from Angelo’s Pizza.
The appropriate weather appeared, a cold night followed by a warm day, causing all of our juices to begin flowing (especially the maples). We headed to the woods with our wares when Ashton tripped sailing a gallon jar. It picked the only rocky spot on the path and it crashed. No one was injured, and we graciously accepted the lessening of one of our taps.
Ashton’s accident was a blessing in disguise as we attempted to push a dull drill bit into a tree. The progress was slow but steady; fifteen minutes later sap was drip, drip, dripping into the bottom of the jar. Six taps later and almost dark, we tucked the boys into bed with visions of pancakes soaked in syrup dancing in their heads.
Alice and Ashton joyfully accumulated several gallons and stored them in our refrigerator ready for Saturday slated for ‘B’oiling day. A cement block pit with metal roof was erected with hot coals from the wood burner. Even in the pouring rain the sap in the evaporating pan began to steam. Alice continued to add her collection, but by evening we were down to half a pan.
We charged up the fire with new wood and went to bed. At five thirty a.m. Rusty awoke to check the process and here begins ‘C’onsternation.
As he approached the site he noticed a sweet burnt smell and said, “Crud!” The liquid had evaporated completely, even with the fire out. The center of the pan was crispy but the outside perimeter was crystallized candy caramel.
The trees are still flowing and we anticipate more chances to produce maple syrup, until then, we love the sweet ‘D’elight found from our ABC sugar adventure.