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packing more

I will be packing another bourbon barrel this week, it will be a 10 gal barrel. I also just got a lead on some 15 gallon oak barrels, recently emptied. Hopefully they will be available soon.

When I pack the 10 gallon barrel the syrup will be from a 26.5 gallon SS barrel. The remaining syrup will be packed mostly into half gallon and a few pint jugs. The last 6-8 months by far my sales of regular syrup have been mostly in half gallon jugs with only a few in pints and even fewer by far in quarts. Online I get very few orders for pints, most are for half gallons and one of my 2 sizes in my bourbon barrel aged maple syrup.

2018 was by far my best year ever for sales totals, it’s a good thing a new season is getting close or I would run out of syrup. I had to send customers to a local producer about 7 years ago, I hope I never need to again, even though the few I referred to the other producer all ordered from me the next time around.

So far this year we have only gotten work done in the leased woods 1/2 day. 2 days ago was scheduled to be a work day again, but I cancelled it due to the cold. As we work there we need to work without gloves on, then we slide our hands along the tubing to locate any squirrel chews, at 20F with snow on the tubing our hands soon get too cold to feel any chew marks, thus I cancelled. Most of my help work days and only helps on Saturdays. This morning we had -1 F, but on Wednesday we are supposed to get up to 35 F, that’s when I will be packing the bourbon barrel and the remainder into retail containers. It’s too early to trust Saturday’s forecast.

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Preparing for the 2019 maple season

We just made about 450-500 new drops yesterday. A drop has a tap on one end, is about 32-34″ long tubingĀ  and has a tee on the other end. That tee then joins the tubing going from tree to tree, which in turn enters a mainline. Mechanical vacuum is on all lines. Tomorrow a small crew of 5 will be working in my leased bush making tubing repairs and installing the new drops. All drops are replaced every 3 years. I now use silver bearing taps which help kill any bacteria that gets in the lines, the taps with that are good for 3 years, those without need to be new every year.

While we have surveyed the tubing in both bushes, this will be our first day fixing lines. We changed all of the drops last year at the sugarhouse bush, about half got the silver bearing taps, the rest will be changed to those this year there.

We hope to have all repairs done in 3 weeks, then whenever the forecast is right we can tap in 2-3 days time, and then start making syrup again. At that point it all depends on the weather, to make syrup we need good freeze thaw cycles, down to 27F or colder then up to 40-45 works best, but smaller swings still work, just not as well. Once we get a freeze to 27 or colder then if it stays warm (above freezing) the sap can run well for 2 days, then a little slower for another day, sometimes 2. If we get the freeze thaw cycles every day for a while we get lots of sap and the sugar percent in the sap rises, if we just get 1 freeze and then no freeze for more than 2 days the sugar percent in the sap gradually falls.

If we have 2% sugar in the sap we need to remove 43 gal of water from 44 gal of sap to leave 1 gal of pure maple syrup.

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more large bottles

I received notice today that my larger bottles (375 ml, 12.7 fl oz) will be arriving late tomorrow. I will bottle some Friday morning and will be able to ship them Saturday and Monday. However, neither day’s shipments would arrive by Christmas. My projections are based on the shipment actually arriving when scheduled. If they come in early tomorrow, I will bottle some tomorrow and could ship Friday. Even then, delivery by Christmas would be questionable. I will post non here and add the count of how many I get bottled when I finish each day. However they can be delivered in time for a special treat for New Years Eve.