There are a lot of things people don’t tell you. Like, if you pierce your tragus, you will never be able to comfortably wear ear buds again. Or if you need to get rid of stale bread crumbs, emptying them down your garbage disposal and then adding water to “flush” them away only creates stuffing in the pipes in your wall. But if multiple published sources give you advice on the same something, maybe take a moment to think that perhaps it made it through the final book edit for a reason.
There is a reason why maple syrup making books tell novices to “only boil indoors in the final stages of syrup making.”
Do not, I repeat, do NOT ever, EVER try to make maple syrup IN your home. Ever. I don’t care if there’s a blizzard. How short you are on time. How you ran out of firewood or some other excuse that makes you think that boiling indoors is the rational alternative. Nononononono. There is a reason why the books warn against this.
It’s no secret that I suffer from impatience. To me, it’s better to do almost anything else than wait for something. (No surprise that my family is notoriously early for everything.)
Maple syrup season is in full swing in VT. This was the weekend that officially kicked off spring in Vermont – not like you’d know based on the amount of snow on the ground (and falling as I write) and frozen taps. But still. You found plenty of free pancakes and hot maple syrup around the state this weekend if you decide you want to spend a few days in a blissful sugar coma.
I collected six gallons of sap a few weeks ago, and then realized I had to boil it all down before leaving the state for awhile. The weather wasn’t cooperating (hence only getting six gallons that week), and after lugging my sap jugs up the mountain because the snow was too deep for the ATV, I wasn’t about to just pour it down the drain. So I did what all of the books said not to do.
This is my third year making my own syrup from sap harvested from maple trees on the property, but this was my first time moving the operation indoors. And my last. For 7 hours, the steam rolled and the microwave fan hummed away, dispensing the steam away from the stove. By hour 8, every window in the cabin had fogged up so much so that I was surprised that the cops weren’t called by my few neighbors to investigate what the heck was going on. By hour 10, the cabin was 74 degrees (and below freezing outside), my pores were open, and I was stirring in a tank top in something that resembled a log steam room. By hour 11, the microwave fan shut off (uh oh) before totally self-destructing by beeping the doom and gloom code no microwave user ever wants to see: SE. By hour 12, three hours past my normal bedtime, I’m half-delirious, cheering on my bubbling pot of goo, staying awake by asking Siri to pull up YouTube videos on how to repair Samsung microwaves DIY-style. By hour 13, I’ve created a masterpiece.
Somehow, I must have fallen asleep for a crucial 15-minute time span where my syrup boiled into some crazy maple honey concoction. I am hoping to replicate that this week once the sap starts flowing again. Outdoors. Gallons of sap and hours of work resulted in one little olive jar’s worth of maple honey stuff. No wonder syrup is so expensive in stores. But SO WORTH IT. I didn’t want to leave my treasure behind, so it road tripped with me and was taste tested in Maryland, where it stayed.
I was gone for about 10 days, all the while wondering how I was going to remove said microwave from the wall and repair it. Apparently time away from me was all it needed. I returned to the cabin, plugged it in, and it hummed away. Crisis averted. Lesson learned. That little olive jar of maple syrup was almost worth $349 in Samsung bucks.
There are some things that just need to be done outdoors, like syrup making. Given the brutal New England winter that still hasn’t let go, I’ve also been doing a lot of building inside. Large pieces. It’s great to have an indoor shop, but then, like with the syrup, when you get to the final stages, you face problems that go beyond testing your microwave’s limits. Like how to get the beasts that I make out the sliding door and up the hill in deep snow.
Sleds and patience are a killer combo.
New pallet furniture designs for Spring 2017! Order yours now – East Coast delivery options available and also available for pickup if you want to come and get some syrup in the Green Mountain state.
From traditional benches to ones that give you a little space from your neighbor with a table in the middle, there are many styles to choose from.
Rustic in look but with a smooth 320 grit finish, these sets are built to last, even if they remain outdoors uncovered all year long.
Many cushion options are available. Also sold sans cushions.
Pallet pieces range in price from $75-$199. Please email me for a quote and/or to place an order!