Monday, April 14, 2014

taste of spring. and then it was winter again

Papa Bear and Mocha checking out the new fire ring

It's been a long winter.  Arctic cold that lingered for months made it seem as though spring would never arrive.

But every now and then between the snow and hail storms we're tasting a bit of spring.

Friday was one of those "I-think-spring-is-actually-coming" days.

A beautiful fire ring by Adler Welding in Sheridan, WY

We packed an entire weekend of things into that one day, from picking up feed and a syrup hydrometer to laying out our hay bale garden.

We also initiated Papa Bear's new fire ring, and had our first grilled hamburgers of the season.

Close up details of our custom fire ring by Adler Welding, Sheridan, WY

Alas, the warm weather didn't last, and rest of the weekend was cold and rainy, with bursts of hail and threats of snow.  We spent most of the next two days inside boiling down sap and working on taxes.

And laughing at the antics of our new kitten.

mocha stalks something in the fringes

I know I said not to boil your sap inside the house, and that is true.  But for finishing syrup when there isn't much liquid left to evaporate it's easy to finish it on your stove top.

This year we invested in a syrup hydrometer (less than $20) to measure the density of our syrup as it neared completion. It has a red line on it and will float at the line when it is at the correct density for syrup.

testing maple syrup

Boil it too long and you'll get maple sugar crystals in your jars.  Done that!

Boil it too short and it will mold and/or ferment.  ahem.  Done that, too.

So, just like Goldilocks, we boiled it down just right.

Canning maple syrup

A word of warning about finishing syrup - it will go from not done to DONE RIGHT NOW very quickly.  Ours indicated the change by suddenly boiling over on the stove.

Be close by when finishing off your syrup to avoid a sticky situation.  yes, i love corny puns.

Out of roughly 6 gallons of sap we got about 3.5 pints of syrup.  Not bad for basically only 3 trees that gave any sap this year.

Three pints or so of maple syrup

{Sorry, not enough syrup to sell to anyone!  We have however planted 25 more maple trees, so get in touch with us in about, oh, 40 years or so...}

We served up some of our newly finished syrup over these gluten-free biscuits this morning and it was NOM.

And, despite the cold rain pelting down outside, it tasted just like spring.

Until I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland.

old man winter strikes again

Cheers -
Gypsy Farmgirl writes about boiling maple sap into syrup


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