At my sugarhouse I’m back in the woods enough that I generally don’t feel the wind, but yesterday I felt it. It was blowing hard enough out of the west that it blew in thru the cracks in the siding on the sugarhouse. In that direction it is over a mile of woods to protect from the wind, but I still got it.
I was busy packing that last barrel of syrup I had found among the empty SS barrels. I now have plenty of half gallons and quarts of Dark for the Christmas season.
Next I need to fill the 2 recently emptied bourbon barrels I bought to start 2 more batches of Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. They are 10 gal barrels, so they will need 6-7 months to age. I’ll very likely run out of my last batch from this year before these 2 new batches will be ready. I’ll fill those this weekend.
I will be packing more syrup tomorrow. Sure glad I found a barrel I had thought was empty, was more from the 2017 season, it had been put in the area which was designated for empty SS barrels. My inventory will be showing more late tomorrow. I won’t likely finish packing tomorrow and I have a project I am doing Wednesday, I’ll pack the rest Thursday and Friday.
Then, there will be no more “found barrels, because I moved all out of the “empty barrels” from a rented storage unit and put them in my new shed.
When these are sold there will be no more until the 2018 season, which is anywhere from mid. Jan thru March 27 (or later) depending on the weather.
I got a chance on a couple of mornings to buck and split some firewood. I have about 1/3 of what I need. A fast splitter really helps.
I also was also starting to empty a second storage unit I have rented, which should not have had any syrup in it, but I found another barrel, a 40 gal one at that, full of syrup. I guess it must have gotten put there when the other storage unit was getting rather full. At any rate, I’ll be packing this last one soon. I checked in the storage unit, there are no more barrels in there. I had seen this barrel a month ago or so, but I figured it was an empty one. This is even better than putting on a jacket you haven’t worn since last year and finding $20 in the pocket.
When packed, It’s certainly likely I won’t run out for Christmas sales, (but still possible) but I suspect I might still run out before the 2018 production starts, especially if the season starts late. It’s all about the weather.
In general, Jan. sales are slow, but they pick up in mid Feb and gain momentum from there, likely as people start getting tax refunds. I have one family who orders a whole year supply (usually 24 half gal) when their tax refund comes in. Today, I’ll do more firewood,Monday I might put the barrel heater on the newly found barrel to start heating it. After about a day, it pumps easily, when cold a 40 gal barrel can take about 10x as long to pump out, so 20 min. vs a little over 3 hrs (kind of similar to “molasses in January” slow). The forecast calls for 55 and rain Tuesday, a good day to pack that syrup.
In the mean time, I’ll try to finish the wood supply. So far I got thru about half of the smallest pile of logs, I still, if needed have 2 more much larger piles of logs but I’d need to move some on the top that were cut recently, and get to the ones that have been there for 2-3 years. Having the right equipment to move logs makes that fairly short work, likely just over an hour.
As it worked out I ended up finishing bottling the last of my syrup from the 2017 season this morning. Then having the new shed, I spent the afternoon hauling several loads from a storage unit I’ve been renting and I put it in the new shed. It was all maple stuff, lots of SS barrels and rolls of new tubing plus tubing fittings left from the 2017 season install. By then I was ready to go home and rest, but first I had to deliver more syrup to The Eclectic Chic, a store (the only store) I sell in.
Tomorrow I still have 2 pallets to haul back, both maple fittings and several cases of new buckets we use in our U-Pick Blueberry operation. Then I can turn the keys in after sweeping the floor and I’ll finally resume doing firewood. My Brother in law will be there to help.
We use a wood fired evaporator and I’m behind this year on my wood preparation. Usually I have my wood all cut, split and stacked 1.5-2 years ahead. This year I don’t. Originally I thought I might switch to oil for my heat (in the evaporator) but then I looked at the piles of good logs I had and decided I’d burn wood one more year. The logs have been cut and stacked 2-3 years, but I have to cut them to length and split them real soon. We use 21-24″ long wood, split about wrist size and we add a full arm load every 9 minutes when boiling, that’s a lot of wood to process. If we have a good season I can burn 12-16 full cord in the evaporator, plus I’m adding a wood stove in the shop (my new shed) for when I’m working in there during cold weather.
I’ll resume processing it tomorrow, at least in the morning. Joan wants to go look at some puppies later if we can. She’s looking for a small breed of some type. She has a few calls in, awaiting return calls. After 50 years I’ve learned that if she wants something I shouldn’t stand in her way.