It’s That Time of Year Again – Part 1

Late winter is a magical time in much of New England.  Just about when you can’t stand the thought of yet another snow storm and are longing for spring, it is time to rinse the cobwebs out of the sap buckets and get busy.

We are a small operation but we’ve added a new wrinkle this year.  In the beginning we had just a few taps and boiled down on a camp stove.  We made great syrup that year but the white gas for the stove was pretty pricey.  Then we got a small two-burner propane stove and boiled almost constantly on our covered deck.  The boiling rate was much cooler and slower and we weren’t able to keep up with the amount of sap we were collecting.  Next we started hauling our sap to a friend’s sugar house about 3 miles away.  site prepThis worked well except for the fact that we were boiling away from home and it was messy and laborious to haul the sap there, and then the almost finished syrup home.

So this summer we decided to build our own little place.  We purchased a small kit from Jamaica Cottage Shop and arranged for some strong young backs to help us put it up.  Our friend Gary helped us with the site preparation and we were all ready when our kit arrived.
kit delivery

IMG_2865
James and Greg did much of the manual labor while we gave advice and kept them supplied with the right kit components.  Our friend Kevin helped too.  With just a few field adjustments we were in business.

sugar house construction

installing the cupola

installing siding and roof

Next up was the Leader evaporator kit we purchased.  The hardest part was getting it square and level and I have to say installing the firebrick inside the burning chamber was not very fun.  We were still speaking to each other after the work was completed; that sounds like success to me.

evaporator put together IMG_2957

Finally, it was time to install the chimney to vent the evaporator.  My brother John helped Roger engineer  that not-quite-textbook feat and it was a wonderful thing to see smoke coming out the chimney (and not filling the sugar house!) when we built the first fire.  Now we just had to wait for the weather to be just right.

the chimney

Yay!  It works!

Stay tuned…

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4 Responses to “It’s That Time of Year Again – Part 1”


  1. 1 colleenkole March 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    WOW, WOW, WOW.

    I guess, why not do it right? 🙂 What a beautiful building -for another fun hobby. Erin is going with her boyfriend up north in MI this weekend to do sugaring for his family. I will show this to them.

  2. 2 rvthereyet March 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Love this post – and can’t wait for the next installment! 🙂 Happy Sugaring!

  3. 3 sue March 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Do I see the beginning of The Croswell Family Farm Vermont Maple Syrup Company ??

  4. 4 Camping Backpack June 4, 2016 at 5:11 am

    It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you just shared this
    helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thank you for sharing.


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