We Boiled for the first time last sunday and made about 400 gallons. We should also boil Friday morning to clean up the rest of our sap that has drizzled in before winter returns in earnest.
We have made a lot of changes to the sugarhouse. We added an addition pictured above that was 30'x44' that now houses our storage tanks. It has been a life saver this year to have all of our tanks in an insulated room. We have stored sap for over a week and a half and never had to worry about the sap freezing even though the room is not heated. We also finished off the area that previously housed the tanks and turned it into our RO and releaser room as well as added a bathroom. This has been another huge improvement in functionality here. There is a panorama picture of the room above. Its not quite finished as we still have half of our new CDL 16" post RO machine to plumb. You can also see that we replaced our old releasers with MES releasers containing two submersible pumps in each. We also tied the two together for redundancy in case we were to have a large problem with one or the other.
The Month of January has been crazy for us. We added 600 taps, and since our new evaporator, a 4x16 CDL Master with out original Steam away on it, releasers, and RO did not arrive until the end of December. This meant we had a couple Marathon weeks of plumbing everything in the entire sugarhouse with the help of my cousin, a professional pipe fitter and welder.
We had hoped to begin tapping the first week of January, but since we were not able to process any sap, we waited a week. Our first run was the second week of January, and it ran fairly well though we only had around 3000 tapped. The following week, (last week) we got another ok run where we collected around 25K gallons of sap. It was a little frustrating as others a but lower in elevation were getting sap throughout the week. For us almost all of our sap came last saturday and saturday night, as at higher elevations it just was too cold the other days. Sugar content was surprisingly good at 2.6-2.0%.
The new evaporator seemed to boil well and was definitely faster than our old one which is what we were looking for. We will finish up tapping early next week and be ready for the next warm up.