Sunday, March 29, 2015

OK Now It's Time To Pull The Taps

 We awoke to rain and sleet this morning but my sap guard hack kept the sap pan free of rain and still allowed for evaporation.

I finished up this last small batch as I removed all the bags and pulled the taps from the trees as the sun set on another year in the sugar bush

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Last Run of the Year.

 I got a new batch rolling Friday after school.  We had a good sap run with several bags overflowing.
 I stoked up the stove and Maxine and I took off for a hike before the Badger game against North Carolina.

A scapula.
 A couple deer down by the power pole.

No shed antlers .

 More feathers.

 Saturday morning  breakfast down in the bush was lots of bacon, a tortilla, potatoes and some of Susie's homemade donuts to dip in syrup.

You get a cold night and the water in the sap freezes up and condenses the sugars.

 I always manage to find something to do with the ice once I remove it from the bag.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


 March Madness,  boiling sap and several visitors down to the sugar bush this weekend.

I had to stop by the stream and try my luck on such a beautiful afternoon. 

A couple of little suckers and no trout,  I just hit the one hole along the road because I've got to hurry back home and get a fresh batch of sap on the stove.
 And that's just what I did.

With the sunshine filtering through the trees, warm early evening temperatures and bags with sap dripping.
 Great way to relax on a Friday afternoon.  

Load up the wood box on the stove and it's off to town to catch some NCAA round of 32, second round basket ball games. 
 An IPA with a little head on it and we're all settled in to watch some Big Ten Basket ball.   First up is the Hawkeyes  -vs- Davidson
 We were all happy with the out come.

MRX got to the Off Shore in time to grab us a few seats at the bar.

Up next, Bucky Badger -vs- Coastal Concordia...

Good wins for both teams.

 We did the bike transfer in the parking lot but managed to talk Mark into coming back to Bckrvue, for a late night run down to the timber to stoke up the fire and a little basket ball in the driveway.

Some late night fire stoking shots.

 We may have been a little out of focus.
A few more helpers came by on Sunday.

Dean and his boy Ben lent a hand and emptied some bags of sap for the next batch.

Later on that same day Mike came by with a growler of his Irish Red,  which I'm enjoying at this very minute.......

Life is good!
Go Hawks!
Go Badgers!

Flow Sap!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

First Batch!

 What a difference a week makes.  Last weekend I strapped on my skies to get down to the Sugar Bush.  This morning I jumped on MRX's fat tire bike to down here.

Everyone else ran down.

 Last nights batch boiled down nicely.
 Maxine soaking in some sun rays while the sap boils.
 I gathered some more rocks and worked on the campsite.

Pouring off the first batch.  Using my new little double strainer.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


 Rolled back in to Chicago once again.

For the NSTA, National Science Teachers Association convention.

This is not the Bean!
 We hoofed it down to the convention center just over 3 miles and walked through Millennium Park’s a unique space located in the heart of the city and a destination for Chicagoans and visitors alike.

 The rest of the science department.
 The art institute

  I jumped on the magic school bus
And visited a crime scene

Sunday, March 8, 2015


 With the temperatures finely creeping above 30* Friday morning.  I started down toward the sugar bush with a loaded sled.  I made it less then ten yards before the top heavy sled of gear tipped over.  Upright and back on the trail.  The trip was slow and steady as I walked backward pulling and stabilizing the rig.
 Plenty of snow down at the camp.  I love seeing how the timber comes to life as the warm Southern winds blow Northward and the sunlight penetrates to warm the soil.
 Time to start tapping trees.  It's a simple and slow process for me.  Using my Grandfather, John Becker's old hand cranked drill gives me a connection to him and the past.  Sure I could use an electric drill like most if not all guys in area do but I'm in no hurry and it's good exercise.  Doing curls.
 These early spring days I tend to put more taps on the Eastern side of the tree in the am and then as the day continues I'll drop a tap in on the West side.
 The dogs love it down in the timber this time of year.  They get plenty of attention and treats.
 I've got a few treats in the cooler too.
 Saturday morning I skied down to the Bush.  The run was fast and icy.  By the time I made the run back to the house the sun had started to melt some snow and made the conditions a little sticky.

 I thought it would be my last run of the year but mother nature had a surprise in store for me when I awoke to a beautiful light snow fall passing through.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


 I made as far as Springbrook before I got the call to cancel school.  With the 3" of snow changing over to ice, I was all for the cancellation

Ace, Maxine, the cats an I loaded up the supplies and heated up the pole barn in order to get to work scrubbing down the pots and pans for down in the sugar bush next weekend.

Toozoo sat next to the fire on the couch while I scrubbed away with steel wool and comet.

 The wet stone that I use for my knifes also works well for scrubbing off old burn carbon on the pan.

With all most all of the supplies loaded on to the runner sled I'm ready to get down to the timber and tap some trees on Friday.  I've got Parent/Teacher conferences for the next few nights and no school on Friday!!

The extended forecast for the weekend  looks good for an early sap run and some spring cleaning.