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  #1  
Old December 6th, 2016, 09:17 PM
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Default The moment you realized maple has taken over your life

Like the title says. What was the moment you realized you were no longer in control of maple, but maple was in control of you.
For me it was tonight. Instead of being a normal person and going out to a nice dinner to celebrate my birthday with my wife, instead I was in the kitchen till 9pm filling unexpected candy orders that I just couldn't say no to. I did try to get my birthday present from wifey , but instead got.. so like i said i guess maple controls my life
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  #2  
Old December 6th, 2016, 11:02 PM
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Well it didn't happen over night for me but...
If I myself had not been bitten by the same bug I might be busy looking for neglected maple widows like yours. So now instead I'm working on my 2017 vacuum strategies
Happy Birthday!
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  #3  
Old December 7th, 2016, 02:49 AM
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For me it happened last year.
So once last season was over I stepped away from doing really anything that had to do with maple. I had plenty of split and stacked fire wood, I really had nothing that was pressing that needed done or worked on so I made sure I had a good supply of syrup in jugs ready for sale and stepped away from the sugarhouse for awhile.
Spent the summer camping and doing a cross country road trip with the family, also did alot of bike riding including my first century bike ride!
Kind of took a long look at what maple means to me and decided that it is and will always be a hobby for me. So I will continue with the maple thing but will be sure to also step away from time to time to enjoy other things in life.

Ok, enough with all this talk, when is it time to tap?
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  #4  
Old December 7th, 2016, 11:12 AM
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For me it happened in 2003. While I had made syrup a few years before for home use only on up to 9 taps, 2003 was the year I bought my first "real evaporator". It was a used Leader Half Pint. I started with 27 taps (on mini tubing, 2-4 taps into a 5 gal jug) and each time the sap flowed I said, I can handle more. I went out and added more taps. In about 2 weeks I had 70 taps, that was when the sap really started to flow. I boiled around the clock, taking turns with my wife while the other slept. That was the point where I realized maple had taken over my life. I drove school bus too, after selling my business, and every place I went I saw more maples that were tapping potentials. I mentally tapped all of them, and I bought a 2x6 evaporator, cut down enough hemlock trees to get the lumber sawed to build my 16 x 24 sugarhouse. I started by taking a flat bed trailer load of hemlock logs to a local sawmill, along with a cut list. The first load was ready in about a week, I hauled it back, loaded another load of logs with a new cut list. This was repeated 5 times, the first load was ready in 1 week, the 5th was ready in10 weeks. That was when I bought my own sawmill for $12,000 so I wouldn't need to wait so long for my lumber. I went for a building permit in early July and was told that I needed to get a variance before I could get the permit. I went to see the person who I had to go thru to get a variance. I then had to be scheduled and wait for a meeting for 4 weeks. Even thou there was a meeting the next night when I saw her, I was required to be on the schedule for a week ahead of the meeting. Finally at the meeting I was granted the variance, the next morning I went to get the permit and was denied, I was then required to be approved at a common council meeting. In the meantime a letter had to be sent to all neighbors near me to make sure itr was OK with them for me to build a sugarhouse there (in the woods on my 15 acre all wooded property with the closest neighbors at about 700' away on both sides. At that common council meeting, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (normally a meeting would have been 2 weeks before, but it was cancelled for election day). At that meeting I had 6 of my closest neighbors attend the meeting. When my turn came to be approved, I stood and explained my plans, several questions were asked by members of the common council and then they called bor comments from those in attendance. All who commented were in favor. Then the council voted, 4 yays, 2 nays and it was approved. The next day I went to get my permit and contacted an excavator operator, who agreed to come the next day, to dig the trenches, and a pit for the base to the evaporator. Construction then began the next morning (Thanksgiving day). All of this delay ( Early July until the day before Thanksgiving for a permit, I later discovered I had not even needed because it was a farm structure. I didn't learn that until the whole building was finished and I was about to get an occupancy certificate. I asked the codes officer and he admitted I hadn't needed one. I asked why he didn't offer that when he first started giving me all the hoops to jump thru and he said he thought I just wanted him to help make sure I was building a safe structure, BULL. I barely got ready enough in my new sugarhouse to make syrup in it in 2004. The next several years I kept adding more taps until I got up to 1320 with everything on medium vacuum, with plans to add to get to 1500 the next year, then I lost my long time help (3 workers graduated college in Dec. 2015, who graduates in Dec?) and I didn't find more help until after the sap started to run. Thus for 2016 I reduced my tap count to 700 instead of increasing to 1500. I had been controlled by maple for 14 seasons, now my wife keeps trying to get me to reduce even more. I'm not sure.
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  #5  
Old December 7th, 2016, 04:04 PM
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It was a long time ago for me. It was our fifth wedding anniversary and I had planned a trip to Toronto to see Phantom of the opera on February 21. Season started early hot and heavy that year and the whole time I was in Toronto I sputtered and fumed about not being around to help get tapped and started. My then wife now ex religiously reminded me of that on every anniversary, she's even reminded me of it twice since we have divorced. Note to all aspiring sugarmakers do not get married during syrup season.
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  #6  
Old December 8th, 2016, 09:02 AM
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That's like me having gotten married in deer season, not a good plan either if you are a hunter. However, mine is still my first and only wife, we will celebrate #50 next October.
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  #7  
Old December 8th, 2016, 10:11 AM
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I still am able to keep it a hobby, but if I was younger I'm pretty sure it would have been out of control, because the limiting factor of available taps, to many, I don't have. Shoot I could pretty easily wrangle 5,000 -10,000 taps. Yeah just a small shack and small operation is all I need.

As to the wifey thing.....I told mine before we got married what all my other passions where (hunting, fishing, etc. ) and if she couldn't live with that, then we had no business getting married, period. I actually told her I loved those things before I ever loved her. Don't expect me to be something else, this is what your getting. we've made it 37 years and planning on eternity together, so I guess I was blessed with a keeper.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 08:29 AM
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Just like others, I mentally tap every nice sugar maple I see. When I drive by a woods I am always scanning for big two bucket trees. When I see nice big sugar maple I always imagine that it runs like a river in February or March. I don't have many trees of my own big enough to tap yet but if I did it would be hard not to be tapping all of them. I love the syrup season and everything that goes into it. The time in the woods and in the sugarhouse makes it the best time of the year. For now, the idea of trying to market an sell more syrup than I do just sounds like work. I make enough to casually sell and give away to friends, family and neighbors and that's just about right.
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  #9  
Old December 16th, 2016, 09:54 PM
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Default Kids tell the truth

Well being boiling on then off now on since I was 12 years old, and my 4 year old daughter put it best tonight. We were talking about what she wanted on her next birthday cake (horse, pony etc) and she turns to me and asks "what's important to you daddy" . I replied my family, and she says "so you want a picture of us in front of the sugar shack on your next cake"

Living the dream,one day at a time.


Happy belated Moser!!
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  #10  
Old February 3rd, 2017, 08:40 PM
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In October of 2016, 7 months after my first syrup season, I found myself thinking about February and when it would be time to tap trees. And winter, well that was just 4 months of nothing I had to get through to get to maple sap season. It's not as dramatic as the experiences of some, and maybe having my first evaporator and everything this might turn into a complete nightmare and I may never want to do it agan..but we will see
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2016: 5 taps total in 2 trees, both sugar maples. Evaporated on 2 stainless hotel pans over a gas stove in the garage. Made 5 quarts of light amber.
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