Maple Syrup Making

In February and March 2009 we presented a three-part program on making maple syrup. In part 1 we described the evolution of the process, from collecting sap in bark baskets to the present-day evaporator, and we tapped some maple trees. In part 2, we gathered and boiled the sap and made syrup. In part three, we made homemade ice cream, topped it with our syrup, and savored a job well done. One of the program participants shares her experience with us.

February 21. Gathered around the fire in the Wheaton House, we listened to Walt Kostyk explain the basic process.
Restored fireplace in the Wheaton House, around which we gathered. Some early Wheatons were brickmakers, and these bricks were made on the farm.
We set up the evaporator under an overhang off of the dairy barn.
Walt explains the process: fill with sap and boil off the water. What remains is syrup. In this picture, the inside "pans" have been removed and are sitting on of the evaporator for better viewing.
The maple tree behind the Carriage Barn is the first tree we tapped. First, Walt drilled a hole.
Then, he tapped in the spile.
March 7. Time to collect the sap, stoke the fire, and begin making syrup. We began at 9, trucked around the park, and gathered (and filtered) the sap from the buckets at the trees into blue containers.
The sap is poured into smaller buckets to take to the evaporator.
The sap is filtered once more as it is poured into the evaporator.
The sweet smell of boiling sap is inimitable.
We kept the fires burning for days.
Sweet amber! We made 12 gallons.