Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

The projects, chores, and life of a family-owned, Northern Wisconsin resort.

Browsing Posts tagged maple syruping

It hit 40 degrees to day and is freezing at night.  There is a smell in the air that says spring and I had to go take a look at the maple trees.  We tapped a couple of them a couple of weeks ago when it was warm in Mid February just because I did not want to think I was missing something if the trees got going early.  Low and behold, it got cold again and I have not been out to check the trees for a couple of weeks, until today… and you guessed it a very slow drip of maple sap was going into our bag on our best maple tree in front of Muskie Inn on the hill.  It was the best producer last year and the one that started the earliest so I figured it would be a good barometer to tell us when things were starting.  Time to tap some trees!  Dug out of the basement all our maple tree paraphernalia.

Troy already had a trail started over to Eagles Nest because he has been knocking a lot of snow off the satellite dishes the last week or so hoping to get better reception (Sunday night not getting Full Metal Jousting on History channel broke someone’s 12 year old heart in our house..  hopefully with the melting Top Shot comes in tonight or someone may go into withdrawal)  Ohh back to the story of maple syrup and not side tracked on the odyssey of TV reception in the Northwoods..  Mack was blazing the partially cut trail to Eagle’s Nest our honey hole of best producing trees on the resort so far

Troy with the drill, hammer and tap.  Closer picture was not taken due to the fact that the snow was knee deep and maneuvering around in it was like walking in quick sand and I was getting wetter and wetter..

Snow was deep and Troy had the camera to show me slogging through the deep snow.  I think this was his way of getting me to tap the farthest tree and he would not have to walk out that far in the wet heavy snow

After the kids came home from school and we were soaking wet, we decided to let them hang the last 8 taps, but first the holes had to be drilled in the cranberry juice containers we had been saving since Christmas.  Someone could take out his frustration over Full Metal Jousting with a power tool

Setting the taps by Birchwood.

Grant:  Hey mom think this will help me train for Top Shot?  You know next week is the cross bow week with flaming arrows and a moving target, I could do it!

ME:  Grant would you please keep your mind on what you are doing and drill that hole before dinner burns.  I think you had better keep practicing on the red squirrels for awhile

In other news with the snow slowly melting so have the reservations and the cabins are not completely full this weekend and that means on thing, the guys are eyeing up their next project..  Nathan and Jamie Ament start thinking of everything you have ever wanted in Bear Den and read below

Uhh Ohh they have already invaded the kitchen.  New counters were picked out today in a dark green.  But my favorite is below

The new wall back that will be installed in the kitchen for easy cleaning!  Yeah!!  Bear Den usually has all sorts of cooking going on with big groups and sauces flying and fish frying..  This will be my favorite new thing to wipe clean!

The downstairs bathroom ripped apart.  Missing picture because it arrived later in the day is…. Nathan and Jamie prepare yourselves….  this may cost you free tuition for Lawerence University for Jake…  Ok I will settle for a good scholarship…..

A NEW FULL SIZED TUB/SHOWER!!  Bear Den will become the first of our places with 2, yes you heard it here first, 2 tub showers!  YEAH  I can hear the cheers from Appleton now.  How many kids can you bathe at one time with 2 tub showers!  I don’t know and do not intend to find out, but Nathan and Jamie will this summer

The new flooring for the bathroom.  LEts not talk about the small rip that happened in the bottom of it when it was dropped by someone..  I hear that corner is going under the nice big new tub.

Now to figure out if we do something with the flooring in the basement…  New carpeting in the bedrooms..  but what to do with the rest of it

Nathan did we hit all your wish list items?  We know Jamie likes everything as it is no change required.  How will Nathan arrange the house after all this change will be interesting to see

For those snow lovers that tune in for snow conditions, I will be posting pictures tomorrow of the Bearskin and road trail.  I think ski trails will be fine but the snowmobile trails will be the question for the weekend and we will not know til tomorrow when the little bit of rain comes through and things hopefully firm back up for the weekend

Take 2 bored kids on a cool spring day with snow still on the ground.  Give them power tools and find a tree and see what happens

Carefully lining up the hole and boring in about 2 inches with a 5/8ths drill

The tree will heal itself creating its own type of bandage.  This is one of our bigger maples in the resort.

Setting the spout in the tree..  really does not need a hammer but we decided to not tell Conner that

Off to find a few more good trees

Syrup bags and power tools how much better can a Saturday get?

Notice we were limited by how far we were from an outlet because Steve and Craig have stolen all the cordless drills leaving Troy with the plug in drills

Conner hanging up his hammer for a power drill

It cost 10 dollars for the equipment for each tap for the tap, bag and hanger.  I know many who also use buckets with lids to keep the deer out and spouts hooked up to lines for bigger operations that go directly into tanks

Tapping tree number 4 on the hillside was more of a challenge.  We figured with the sun on the hillside this tree would be flowing soon.  You need nights that go below freezing and days that go above freezing to get the sap running.  We may be a week early but are ready

Always important to remember to blow out the hole so you don’t get saw dust in your maple juice.

Bring on spring we are ready!  It takes around 76 gallons of sap to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup.  You can also make maple candy if you boil it down further.  we shall see what we manage to collect.  Sap starts flowing we may put a few more taps out.  Stay tuned to see how this experiment goes.  Troy and I both did it as kids making maple syrup but it has been quite a long time.  We picked up our supplies from Minocqua Hardware, John the owner is a maple syrup expert who’s family bottles and sells their product