Syrup at Last
I wasn't sure we were going to get enough sap for maple syrup this year. For a couple of days after that 69 degree F. day last week, I was only getting a cup or three in my gallon jug. Then we started getting frosty nights and 40-ish days again and the sap started to flow. What a relief.
A pint of maple syrup will last us nearly a year. A quart would be better, so I'll probably keep boiling sap down and freeze-concentrating it as long as it runs. The later sap makes a stronger, more maple-flavored syrup. Strangely, my husband likes the earliest, clearest run, that tastes like sugar syrup to me!
We lived here for fifteen years before we finally bought some maple taps and tapped a couple of the enormous sugar maples on the property. I don't know why it took us so long. Last year we had a "forgetting the boiling kettle" accident, where I went to buy some Pellon to strain the sugar sand (concentrated minerals in the bottom of the boiling kettle) out of the syrup, and my husband had friends over and forgot to keep an eye on the kettle. I got home with the straining material only to get out of the car and smell burned sugar. Wrecked the bottom of the big enamel canning kettle, too.
This year I was conservative and only put in one tap. Whereas I wouldn't try to boil down 40 or 50 gallons of sap inside my house to get a gallon of syrup, I can boil down 5 or 6 gallons, one gallon a day, to eventually get a pint of syrup.
My brother has been sending me beautiful bird pictures from Colorado. I took this one of the downy woodpecker on the suet feeder with my little camera.
For our first full day of Spring, it is gray, overcast, and raining. But it was sunny out yesterday, so I took Ajax for a walk. The big baby, he was tired at the end and panting! I guess he needs more walks to get him back in shape.
Did I do any knitting yesterday? Nope, none, except for taking the pictures for the open tube cast-on. But today it's raining and chilly, and I just printed out the new pattern from the Sampler M Yahoo group (button in the sidebar). I'll have to start it with some new thread, since I cast off my Sampler M.
Meanwhile, the double knitting "knit a flattened tube on two needles" knit-along is still going on. Try it -- you know you want to!