11 Mar

Maple Weekend and Record Maple Sap

We have been very busy getting ready for Maple Weekend.  A few of the activities we will have are: an old fashioned wood fired back yard evaporator or flat pan set up and running; we have also confirmed that we will have “The Dear Alpaca Farm” with us all four days with some of their Alpacas.  You will be able to pet them if you want to; they are so soft!  If you are wondering, Alpacas are not the animals that spit at you.

Watch for more Maple Weekend Activities and updates.  We guarantee family fun for all ages when you visit The Orebed Sugar Shack.

In case you haven’t heard, Brianne & Bill are expecting their first child in the very near future so we might have an addition to the family in the midst of the Maple Weekend Festivities.  We wish them all the best.  Stay tuned for details on this also.

We had a record amount of maple sap today (a record for the last two years anyway).  Since it takes thirty to fifty gallons of syrup to make a gallon of pure maple syrup, we will probably be up late tonight.

27 Feb

Installing Mainline

 Today was day two of getting mainline (maple tubing) installed so that we can add approximately 100 more taps.  It was a great day to be in the woods with the sun shining!

Before we install the wire, we shoot grade to make sure the sap runs the right direction once it enters the tubing.  As we worked installing the wire that holds the 1″ mainline, it looked like the grade we shot this summer was off.  So we re-shot the grade and found out the work we did this summer was right on.  I was the rod woman while Jeff ran the Berger automatic level (the tools used to make sure we have the sap running the right direction).  It still amazes me that it is so deceiving when you look at it.

When we talk about running mainline, the first thing we do is connect anchor the wire at each end, typically to a tree. Then we tighten it fairly tight.  It is important that it is tight enough to keep the tubing from sagging once the sap starts entering it but not so tight that you bust the line while working on it.   Once you have this connected and tightened at both ends you are ready to attach the mainline to the wire.

This step involved putting short wire ties around the tubing and wire and twisting them until the tubing is tight to the wire.  Again, this doesn’t sound to difficult but if you twist the wire ties to much they bust.

So what we accomplished the last two days was getting 650 feet of 1 inch mainline run and tied to the wire.

We still have a ways to go before we are ready to tap this group of 100 trees.  Stay tuned and we will fill you in on the process as we complete it. 

Thanks for following – have a great evening!

27 Feb

Maple Tree Tapping Update

We have finished tapping and repairing lines.

We are hoping to add 100 more trees to tubing, but they are ready to tap yet.

Stay tuned for details.

13 Feb

The Tapping Maple Trees Has Started

We started tapping our maple trees today.

We can usually put out about 700 taps per day.  Today we averaged about 250.  It was very slow going and I sure am glad that we have snowshoes to use.  Even with the snowshoes I was sinking to at least my knees.  In the beginning we were averaging about 50 taps per hour and toward the end of the day our average dropped.  At this rate it will probably take another 30 hours to get all our trees tapped.

For those not familiar with the process, all of our taps are on 5/16″ tubing.  One 5/16″ line should have only 5-10 taps on it, that line then connects to a inch line that brings the sap directly to our Sap House.  You can only imagine how many lines we have in the woods with 1400 taps.  We guess that we have approximately 4-5 miles of one inch line in the woods and probably 6-7 miles of 5/16″ line.  That being said we still have no problem getting through the woods to work since we use quick disconnects to keep our roads open when we aren’t sugaring.

The tapping process consists of drilling a 19/64 hole about 1-2 inches deep (if the bark is really think it would be 2 inches) otherwise it’s about an inch.  Once the hole is drilled you then gently tap in a spout (we use check valve spouts – I will blog more about this spout at another time).  Once the spout is tapped in you connect the stubby to the spout.  (The stubby is connected to the 5/16″ line and stays connected to the line year round).   I will try to get some pictures to post to make visualizing the process easier.

Until the next time~Lori

06 Feb

Orebed Sugar Shack’s Maple News & Views

This is our attempt to start a blog.  As this develops we hope to share the many activities that are required in all aspects of our maple sugaring operation: from tapping our maple trees, to fixing lines/tubing, checking vacuum at different locations in the woods, thinning trees, making maple syrup, making maple cream, making maple candy, making maple granulated sugar, the list goes on and on.  It’s a year round job – not just seasonal as some often think.

We’ve had several new things happen during the course of the past year and we will fill you in as time goes on. 

With all the snow that we have received recently, I’m thinking we will be wearing snowshoes as we begin tapping this year! 

Until the next time.  Have a great day!~Lori