Boiling maple syrup is a lot of work, and can really be physically draining. If you have never done it you might not realize everything that is involved in the process. Let me “boil down” the steps for you:
- Identify Your Trees – Maple syrup comes from maple trees, and you need a bunch of them if you are going to collect enough sap to process. So the first step is to identify maple trees that are good candidates for tapping.
- Get Your Equipment – To gather the sap you need a drill, spiles (aka taps) to place in the trees, buckets, hooks, and lids. All of these pieces need to be hauled to each tree that you plan to tap. That is, unless you are going to do a large scale operation that has piping run between trees to allow the sap to run to a central collection point.
- Collection Containers – The sap that fills the buckets needs to be collected and carted, so you need collection containers to take to each tree and then back to your boiling shed. And they get heavy when full.
- Boiling Equipment – You make maple syrup by boiling down lots of sap to remove much of the liquid, leaving the sugary syrup behind. It varies a bit, but in general the ratio of sap to syrup is about 40:1, meaning that you need to collect and boil down 40 quarts (10 gallons) of sap to get 1 quart of syrup.
Boiling syrup is both a time and labor intensive process. It also can do a number on your back to handle all the equipment and buckets of sap. As someone who is getting up in years, when the sap runs in the spring I get pretty wiped out.
Which leads me to the subject of this post – the new tool in my arsenal. I recently purchased a new electric lift chair to help me get my tired bones back up after settling in for my late morning rest. I’ve only been using it for a short while, but it really has made it easier to get in and out of my recliner after a hard day of making syrup.