The new set up - it's a little bigger than last year.
So we ran right out and got $20 worth of cinder blocks. Then I dry stacked them to make a sort of fire pit. This morning I went around and got a bunch of firewood from the woods...and I pulled a few good pieces from the firewood pile. Then I built up a big fire. Whoot!
This is such a fun project!
The Bacon Wagon of Doom serves as a filtering station.
Here you can see I'm using the Bacon Wagon of Doom as a staging area for the sap. We went around and poured all the sap from the trees into those big 5 gallon buckets and hauled them up to the house. Then I filtered out the bugs n stuff before putting the sap into my big, totally-OK-with-being-ruined boiling pots.
They are now set on the fire to boil away. When the sap cooks down I'll add more filtered sap to the boiling pots. It's easier for me to filter into a smaller bucket, then add to the pots on the fire.
You can see that I used racks from an old stove at my cooking surface.
To filter the raw sap I just use a big colander lined with cheap, grocery-store quality cheese cloth.
At this point someone always shrieks, "But it is WORTH it!?!?" Yeah. Yeah it's totally worth it. This is a terrific late winter/early summer project. I'm out there walking around with the chickens, enjoying the sunshine, and I'm picking up all the stick and broken branches that came down over the winter. It's a yard clean up, shake off the winter-mopes workout, make real syrup, extra fun project. So yep it's totally "worth it."
Next the purists will shriek, "BUT YOU CAN ONLY USE HARDWOOD FOR YOUR FIRE! YOU'LL MAKE YOUR SYRUP SMOKEY!" They are extra loud. That's fine. Our reply is to shrug and say, "So?" That just means that every plate of pancakes takes like they were made over a campfire... if we can even taste the difference. We just aren't that picky.
I'll finish the syrup in the house but that probably won't be until tomorrow.
And if I get my act together I can get a pot of extra smokey baked beans going out there on the fire also. What a great day!
Happy Thursday everyone! Do you got your boil on?