It has been far too hot the last 2 weeks. Today and tomorrow will have heat humidity indexes near or over 100 F, yesterday it got over 95. I’ve only been able to work on the battery build a couple of hours in the mornings before the heat tells me to go home where the AC is keeping the house nice and cool. I have not packed any more syrup either, because of the heat. Working over a bottler that is 185-187 F in this heat doesn’t work for me. I’m a winter person, I’d much rather work in 0 degrees rather than near 100 F.
As far as the new LiFePo4 battery bank goes, I have it all assembled, with the required battery management system (BMS) and it is clamped into a single unit. It sets on a bench, with a 1″ insulation foam under it and a heating pad. When all finished it will be enclosed in an insulated box. The heating pad will keep the battery above 37F because this type of battery can not be charged when frozen. The heating pad has it’s own thermostat and it only uses 65 watts, it will be run off the battery. The battery bank will be able to run that heating pad for over 6 days even if the thermostat never shuts it off, with no sun input (solar) if needed.
I re-routed the heavy battery cables from outside where my retired battery bank was and I’m now ready to make the wiring connections inside, as soon as the weather cools off to under 80. I also will be changing the main fuse from 250A down to 100A, because this battery back up is only to run a 1250 watt electric heater if grid power goes out and my propane furnace to heat the small room the reverse osmosis (RO) machine is in fails. The RO must not freeze. The RO is what removes 75%+ of the water from the sap before it gets boiled into syrup. That 1 electric heater is the only thing being powered except for the heating pad mentioned earlier. Back when the electric heater was the only heat in that well insulated room, if the outdoor temp was -20F the heater only ran about 25% of each hour.
I have taken the time to get more product ready for sale. Most grades and sizes are in stock now, but I will add more in the next 2 weeks as I ramp up for fall sales. Usually sales start to increase in August and then grow rapidly through December. I believe I’m in good shape to meet the demand. I still have all grades except Very Dark in stainless barrels, ready to be packed into any sizes that I run low on. I have a good supply of both sizes on bourbon barrel aged maple syrup already bottled. I also have another batch that should be ready late August and another batch that should be ready in early December.
Yesterday I started design work on my lean-to equipment shed so I could make a lumber list. Next I will saw the lumber needed from hemlock logs off my property. The only things I’ll need to buy for the project is sono tubes and concrete for concrete piers , pressure treated posts to support the open side and steel roofing. And of course screws to assemble it all. This will be attached to the 28′ side of my shop. When finished I’ll be able to park much of my farm equipment out of the weather.
I also still need to finish bucking and splitting my firewood for 2020, the logs are all piled, ready to cut.
Another project to be done soon is to put my new Lithium Iron Phosphate battery bank together for my back up power. The dead lead/acid batteries were removed and taken to the scrap yard this week.They served me well, the life expectancy was 7 years and I got 11 years out of them. The new battery bank should last 25-30 years the way I’m setting them up. I will be changing the charge profile for the longest life of the batteries. I’ve been studying how to do that.
Sales have been quite good and we continue to bottle more from our SS barrels into retail containers. Last week we bottled more Dark, Strong taste, the week before we packed more bourbon barrel aged maple syrup and filled another barrel to start the aging process.
Tomorrow we should finish pulling taps for the year. Then later this week I will be bottling more Golden and Amber syrup into retail containers.
I have also been making improvements in my shop. I added more shelving and have organized it a lot in there, I still plan to add at least 1 more shelf, maybe 2 more for better organization and easier locating of things when needed.
I also plan to add a lean-to roof off one side for storing farm equipment. For that I’ll be sawing more lumber to build it.. That should be 8′ out from the building and at least 24′ long, maybe 28′ (The shop is 28′ long, I don’t know if I want to set it back 4′ in the front to make backing the long sap trailer around easier or if I’ll improve the circular drive to eliminate the need to back that trailer.
I am offering bourbon barrel aged maple syrup in case lots. The shipping will work out to be less than if the same quantity were to be ordered and shipped in a few flat rate boxes.
The heavy duty box I am using costs considerably and I have to add that cost to the cost but the total is still less. If anyone wants to order a case (24) of the 6.76 oz size, or a case of 12 of the 12.7 oz bottles send an email to email@example.com Both for now must be ordered by email to me. Then I’ll send you a PayPal invoice. Since both get packed in an oversized heavy duty box I need to handle it differently. Maybe sometime we will be able to program the site to do it, but that is proving a challenge for now.
I sense this will make the bourbon barrel aged maple syrup even more popular than it has so far, I will need to make more at a time just to keep up with the demand.
I’ve been doing a lot of business selling my bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, some even buy larger quantities at a time.
I recently got to wondering if there would be enough interest in customers to sell case lots at a slight discount. Is the interest there. At the sugarhouse I’ve sold full cases a few time and twice so far I’ve shipped that amount in one shipment, but I always had to repack those larger shipments in large flat rate USPS boxes. A large flat rate box, will not safely hold a full case worth. I have a reseller who is buying the larger amounts and I came up with a way to cut their cost. The idea came when I bought my last few reorders of the empty bottles I pack that syrup in. They put 5 or six cases of bottles in a large rather flimsy box that looks like a gorilla handled it when the shipment arrives, but I have not had even a single broken bottle in any of those shipments, the foam peanuts that surrounded each case did their job.
I will be packing the shipments in heavy duty boxes with plenty of space for foam packing peanuts to protect the shipment.
If I get enough feed back saying yes, I will set this up in the near future. To leave a comment you can either post a comment on this site or email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for any feedback.