The shelving I got recently has all been put to use in my new shed. I have benches placed along all wall space, with one double stacked. The bench height ones each have one shelf under the bench, then the double stacked one has 5 shelves total. This will be improved this summer, but for now it gives me the storage space I need until after the maple season. Now I need to concentrate on maple.
My pneumatic driven diaphragm pump which is used to both move syrup from one place to another (from an evaporator draw off tank to the finisher, or from the finisher thru the filter or from a barrel to the bottler) has failed. I suspect it’s just sugar built up on the check balls that force the syrup to go where it should. I’ll need to try filling it with hot water and operate it, if that doesn’t work, I’ll open the pump to check for the problem. I have spare parts for all of the common issues. Tomorrow I’ll disconnect the pump from the filter and the inlet and outlets and then bring it home to check it where I can be warm doing it. Right now the inside of the sugarhouse was 9 F today when the outdoor temp got to 18 F. I prefer working on it where the temp is about 62 F. Hopefully I can get enough hot water into it to get some flow, and once flow starts any sugar built up will dissolve. If that fails with the pump apart I can see if check balls are stuck, or if one or both of the diaphragms are damaged. In either case I have spares.
I’m just glad this didn’t happen in the busiest part of the season.
Right now, at 8:57 AM it is 59 F outside, will get to 61 mid afternoon, but then by this time tomorrow the forecast calls for 8 F. That’s over a 50 degree drop in about 18 hours. Tough on the trees, and me.
Last weekend we had extreme cold, as cold as -15F, now today we might get up to 52F and tomorrow forecast for 54F , then the bottom will again fall out of the thermometer. This is perfect weather to get sick. Our bodies can’t adjust fast enough.
With all this, I’ll fill my last barrel for bourbon barrel aged syrup, another 10 gal. It should then be ready to bottle late June or early July.
I am also getting some tubing repair work done in the woods, in preparation for this up coming season. As cold as it was last weekend, there would not be much sap flow if any yet, the trees need time to thaw. That would take another 2 or 3 days of mild temperatures, but as noted above, starting Saturday, the temperatures again go back to real cold to again freeze solid. I may even start tapping around the sugarhouse next week.
In between things, I’m also getting the sugarhouse ready for the season, cleaning and organizing. Yesterday, I finished getting all my benches and shelves set in my new shed, thus some items that always had to be stored in the sugarhouse for lack of a better place, can now be stored in the 14×28 shed, and I can even drive my tractor in it and park that too.
While it was only -9 F when I finally got up this morning (yes, I slept in after seeing the new year in, completely sober I might add). At 7:20 it was -9 F.
I want to wish all a happy, peaceful, and prosperous 2018.
On Friday, in addition to my previous post, I also picked up some additional supplies. I now have a good inventory of tubing fittings, several rolls of 3/16 lateral line, 3 rolls of 5/16 lateral line, some 1″ main line and several saddles (to tie lateral lines into the main lines. As I run low on things I’ll restock. One benefit there is that one dealer is 3 miles from my brother in law (BIL) and another dealer is within a mile or so of my leased woods. In fact, that dealer also bought a lease I sold as I got older and lost my younger help (they were 2 grandsons and a friend of theirs, also in college). Once they graduated they moved on to their chosen profession.
I am adding some more taps in both my leased woods and the woods I own around my sugarhouse. Work starts in a week or so, doing repairs and then starting to tap. I am also changing a small vacuum pump for a larger one at my leased woods.
Once work starts, things will get very busy. I hope to finish tapping by 1/21, because my BIL who is in this with me goes in for surgery on the 22nd. He will then be on limited lifting of 10# for 6 weeks.