Mallard Pond Maple started tapping trees on February 21st this year. We put in 230 taps, of which 25 were buckets while the rest were on tubing. It was a much earlier start to the sugaring season than last year (tapped March 8th) as it was also much warmer, and snowless. We actually could have tapped three weeks earlier and probably would have been able to make syrup at that time but decided to wait and feel out the weather. Well, after a bitter cold Valentines day, and a week away from home, we came back and put our taps in.
For the year we hauled in approximately 2000 gallons of sap. We are predicting 40 gallons of syrup for the season but we aren't finished bottling yet. Head on over to the maple products page to see what syrup is available this year!
After a few busy months participating in local fairs & festivals, our maple supply for this year has almost run out. We are now down to small jugs and a few glass bottles. If you are interested in any of our maple products please send us an email with what you are looking for and we'll let you know what we have. You can check out our maple products page for information on each product, as well as what styles are still available. Quantities are limited!
The glass bottles make great Christmas gifts! Get them while you can.
It's been a while since our last update - a little over a year, in fact. So here is what has happened over the past year.
We finished building our reverse osmosis for sugaring over the summer. Unfortunately the plumbing never got installed until late March this year. By the time the leaks found during testing were fixed it was too late to start using the RO this season. We'll be sure to add it to our process next year as we spent a LOT of time in the sugarshack this year. The RO will, in hopes, remove half of the water from the sap thus cutting down our boiling time, the amount of wood we burn, and the amount of time it takes to cut, split, and stack said wood. In the future we could possibly see a reduction of up to 75% of the water in the sap before boiling! We'll start with half for now though.
The tubing needed to be checked for squirrel chews and to make sure it was nice and tight prior to putting the taps in. Every inch of the tubing was checked and many sections were replaced. An air leak in tubing means less vacuum (we use a gravity system and rely on natural vacuum to "suck" the sap out of the trees) and less sap. Fortunately I was able to spot the leaks fairly quickly though some were spotted while the sap was running - in some cases spraying out of the tubing like water through a hole in a garden hose!
We had no other big changes this year with our production. Our last day of boiling this year was April 6th. Yet another record. The season was very late once again due to the freezing temperatures and snowpack. Some areas were reporting the frost line in the ground of 7'! That certainly didn't allow the tree's roots to warm up very quickly. Even though we had temperatures in the high 40's the trees didn't give us much sap because they were still frozen. It took quite a while for them to start dripping. As a matter of fact, our first boil wasn't even until March 15th. About 2 weeks later than when we normally start boiling.
We haven't bottled every ounce of syrup yet but here are some stats so far:
We put in 233 taps - most of them on tubing but 28 were on buckets which had to be emptied on a daily basis.
We collected 2040 gallons of sap - at 40:1 ration this would mean 50 gallons of syrup.
We burned roughly 3 cord of wood - hopefully that number will go down next season!
An early estimate would put us around 45 gallons of syrup produced. The sugar content in the sap was slightly below 2% meaning it took a little more than 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup.
As this is the first season for the new grade change of syrup, we did not produce any Golden Delicate or light syrup. We did manage to get quite a bit of Amber or Rich flavor syrup (known previously as medium syrup). We're still in the process of bottling the dark and extra dark syrup and as soon as that is finished we'll update this post again.
Besides the RO for next season, we hope to add about 50 more taps. We
will also be looking to add a new drawoff system so we can draw syrup off
the evaporator, then take it to our filter press and bottle it in less time
than in the past. All in an attempt to make things run more efficiently.
Last but not least, we're striving to reach a goal of 75 gallons of syrup.
Not sure if we can get there but we're certainly going to try. Until next
A new record for us here at Mallard Pond Maple. April 7th is now the latest date that we've ever boiled! We collected a few drops in the buckets & tanks (a total of 70 gallons of sap - what's that, 1.2 million drips?) and spent three hours boiling it off. This was another short but surprising run for us as we woke up to 28.5 degrees this morning instead of the forecasted 34. We're still hoping for a few more runs so we can try to meet our goal of 30 gallons of syrup during this weird maple season.
Look for updates on our products page for a new bottle along with information about what kind of syrup we have in stock.
Well, it's been a trying season thus far. We've managed to collect just over 600 gallons of sap and made nearly 20 gallons of syrup. Yes, those numbers are a bit unconventional. Typically for 20 gallons of syrup we would boil over 800 gallons of sap (40:1 ratio but 50:1 is more like our average). The bright side (for those who like it) is that we have made nearly 20 gallons of Light Amber syrup. Though it is hard to understand why, I can only guess that the weather has been so cold, for so long, that it has kept the sap very cold and the lack of bacteria in the sap has helped keep it fresher longer.
That said, it looks like tonight the syrup is finally changing grade. We may have finally moved on to Medium Amber syrup. We won't know until it is filtered & bottled but we're keeping our fingers crossed. I know that seems a bit odd as many people enjoy light syrup and think of it as a delicacy but our favorite is Dark... or Darker!
At any rate, please pray to Mother Nature that she will give us some nights in the 20's and bright sunny days in the 40's so the sap will run this week and we can make more of that golden deliciousness!
We've had a very slow start to the season this year. Taps went in on February 23rd but really haven't been running much. The sap that has been dripping into the tanks has frozen solid leading us to use an ice chisel remove ice chunks so we could pump out the liquid that was hidden below the ice. So far we've made over 11 gallons of syrup - all light syrup to this point. We're hoping not only for a grade change (heading down towards some medium or dark syrup) but for some optimal weather conditions - Daytime highs in the 40's, nighttime highs in the mid 20's. Not sure we're going to get that but we'll take whatever sap we can get at this point. Available syrup products will be posted on this site as they become available.
It's been a full year since we put in our first taps. Something tells me that we won't be putting taps in anytime soon. It's been a busy off-season of maple sugaring. Mallard Pond Maple has added approximately 85 taps, a new filter press (for filtering hot maple syrup), and we're hoping to finish building our reverse osmosis machine that will remove 50% of the water in our sap to reduce boiling time and firewood consumption (and give us a few extra hours of sleep).
Look for future updates on when we are starting to tap and follow along as we enter our fourth season.
WOW, what a season! Mallard Pond Maple's first taps went in on February 11th. Over the course of 53 days we collected roughly 2300 gallons of sap, burnt nearly 3 cord of wood, tapped approximately 196 trees, and spent over 114 hours in the sugarshack boiling. It was a record year for us in terms of gallons of sap, number of taps, and total gallons of syrup produced. We met our goal of 40 gallons of syrup for the year!
We now have plenty of light, medium, dark, and extra dark syrup available for sale. Check out our maple products page for a list of what is currently available. If there is a bottle design you see and it's not available in the grade you desire let us know and we'll see what we can do.
We look forward to dinners in our dining room, working in our garden and around the yard in the evenings & on weekends, and early-to-bed nights! Of course we also look forward to next February when we'll be back tapping & boiling sap so we can enjoy that Mallard Pond Maple Sweet Maple Syrup!
Happy Saint Patrick's Day, 2013!
What a difference a year makes. 2012 was definitely a letdown with under 15 total gallons produced. So far this year we've collected 1200 gallons of sap (over 100 gallons more than last year) and have produced 22 gallons of syrup. And the best part is that the weather outlook looks great! After a brief four day warmup the weather has turned bitterly cold again so the trees are now frozen and waiting for the next thaw to start running again.
This year we've added another line of tubing to our woods and are now up to 130 taps on tubing. We've also added a few buckets to a new sugarbush in our backwoods. Our current tap count is 194. Next year we're looking to add yet another line to our woods with up to 75 new taps!
The 2012 sugaring season has begun! Most of our upgrades are up and running. We installed maple tubing for roughly 90 taps and set out roughly 75 buckets as well. Using two holding tanks for the tubing and a new RTV, sap pump, and transportation tank, we can move more sap in less time. Couple that with our new 400 gallon head tank (the tank that feeds sap to the evaporator while we boil) and our potential sap storage capacity exceeds 1000 gallons! Now if our trees can give us that much sap on a regular basis we'll have syrup coming out of our ears!
2012 syrup is now available! Check out our products page for what is currently available.
The 2012 sugaring season is right on our doorstep. We've been upgrading our operation by adding 80 taps on maple tubing as well as adding a new 450 gallon stainless steel head tank to feed the evaporator. Our sap collection will be more streamlined as we have acquired a side-by-side UTV that will hold a 125 gallon tank and a 2-cycle gas sap pump to transfer the sap from our collection tanks to the head tank.
In other words we'll be able to spend more time boiling and less time collecting! We're also looking at the possibility of adding a few more taps bringing our total tap count up to nearly 200 taps! That can only mean an increase in syrup production!
Enjoy the rest of "winter" and check back often for some 2012 syrup.
The 2011 sugaring season has finally come to an end and a great season it was! The taps were put in on February 13th and we pulled our last buckets this past Sunday. Season totals are 1665 gallons of sap processed into 33 gallons of syrup. We now have a variety of each grade of syrup, Light Amber, Medium Amber, Dark Amber, and Grade B syrup. If you are interested in our syrup select the products link to the left. You can email or call to place an order.
We're already looking ahead to next season too. Upgrades are to include running tubing to most of our trees to make our collecting process a bit less time consuming (and lighter on our backs) and a larger sap storage tank in the sugarshack so we can store a few more gallons of sap if it comes pouring in.
Wow! The sap came pouring in on Thursday and Friday last week! We wound up with over 250 gallons of sap to boil down this weekend. We finished boiling around 3pm today and wound up with over 8 gallons of Light Amber syrup. Check out the maple products page to see examples of what we offer!
The first batch of syrup for 2011 has been bottled! Though there isn't much, it's a start. We've taken in just over 225 gallons of sap and so far have produced 1-1/2 gallons of syrup. The pans are sweet and as soon as the sap runs again we'll have plenty more syrup on the way.
A few photos from this season have been added to the photos page.
It's official. The 2011 sugarin' season is underway at Bees of the Woods!
This morning we set out 91 taps (yea, a nice round number, eh?) and soon we'll be adding 40 more. Hey, it may only be 26 degrees outside today - didn't the weathermen forecast 35? - but we're all set for the warmup this week. Hopefully by tomorrow afternoon we'll pull in our first sap of the season and if the weather keeps up through next Saturday as promised we could see enough sap to make a gallon or so of light syrup by the weekend!
Last weekend we had a test boil for a couple hours just to make sure the evaporator and sap tank were running right. Had a leak in one of the fittings on the tank. Replaced that today and it looks like we're all set for the season.
We walked around the woods today breaking trails and trimming saplings so we can get to the maple trees a bit easier (and without getting whacked in the face by a branch). With two feet of snow in the way it's always nice to get trails started before we tap & collect. Tomorrow we're getting another 35 buckets to bring our total up to 126. That should be enough to produce somewhere between 25-30 gallons of syrup! Well, that's my goal anyway. With an evaporator that boils in the neighborhood of 25 gallons per hour that should mean approximately 40 hours of boiling.
As soon as we get good tapping weather we'll start hanging the buckets (up from 80 last season) and begin the 2011 season. Stay tuned for updates!