I do not have a lovely stand of maple trees. I do not have a ‘sap shack’. I do not have those lovely metal buckets with their lovely metal covers. I do not have the less-lovely but efficient tubes and gravity.
I have four large sugar maples. I have nine little buckets bought at the paint store. I have twenty taps bought from Craig’s List. I have a couple stainless steel pots and crockpots. I have a commercial vent over my stove.
On Sunday, my son, daughter, the cordless drill, and I spent about thirty minutes putting in nine spigots. Yesterday we collected roughly 10 gallons of sap. Yesterday I shuffled sap from crockpot, to pot, to my large roasting pan. Mid-day we collected again, getting another five gallons. (I am trying to not remember that this is February and it shouldn’t be this warm.)
We’ll get a little over a quart of syrup this week, which would be a good ratio of sap to syrup. The sap is very thick and sweet at the moment.
I know I shouldn’t have started off saying what I don’t have – it sounds terribly negative. But…(of course there is a but or I wouldn’t have started that way!) – I know I am always telling myself why I can’t do something before I am telling myself why I can do something.
Setting up a syrup making operation seems daunting and un-do-able doesn’t it?
There are a whole bunch of reasons to not try something new. One taste of syrup is quite enough to dispell all those arguments. The effort costs the most. The buckets and spigots and energy costs aren’t really so bad.
Every year I find cheaper and better ways of doing the Something New. When I bought my first cow all of the do nots swamped me. There was every reason to not have a cow in the last farm-zoned property on a big street in a little town. Five years into doing that Something New means it is now Something Familiar, and sure, sometimes it is hard and expensive and I think I am crazy; but at the end of the day, or the week, or year, especially when the Something New tastes good, the risks of trying Something New far outweigh the buts.