The Maple Sugar Book

"A complete syrup and sugar maker comprises in himself a woodcutter, a forester, a botanist, an ecologist, a meteorologist, an agronomist, a chemist, a cook, an economist, and a merchant.  Sugaring is an art, an education, and a maintenance."


Helen and Scott Nearing
The Maple Sugar Book, 1950

Threats to Maple Trees

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is an invasive insect that feeds on certain species of hardwood trees, eventually killing them. The ALB especially likes maple tree.  The ALB most likely came to the United States inside wood packing material from Asia. Since it was first discovered in Brooklyn, New York in 1996, the beetle has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. If the ALB were to become established here, it could become one of the most destructive and costly pests ever to enter the United States. If we don’t find and stop the ALB, we’ll lose more than trees. We’ll lose industries worth billions of dollars – and wildlife habitats too. Our yards and neighborhoods will take decades to recover.

Read More at Beetle Busters

Post Script: Blizzard Evelyn PDF Print
Monday, 16 April 2018 07:15

We've been camped out at a hotel a block from the Green Bay airport the past three nights waiting out Blizzard Evelyn.  24” of snow.  Winds 25 mph to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph.  Yesterday afternoon from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM we had whiteout conditions.  Biggest snow event since 1888.  We love snow storms.  But when we say its bad, it is bad.


We knew the storm was coming so headed to the airport Friday evening when the weather was good and took a room at the hotel.  The flight was Saturday morning at 8:45 AM.   The forecast called for snow overnight but a lull in the morning so we expected the flight would go.  Snowed more than expected overnight and the flight was canceled along with all other flights out of Green Bay.   We got notified at 1:40 AM about the cancellation.  By 5:00 PM they closed the airport.


We were rescheduled for a Sunday morning flight but were not optimistic it would go because the second part of the snow storm was forecast for Saturday night into Sunday.  Got notice of the flight cancellation by 7:30 PM Saturday with no rescheduled flights.


Snow HotelThe weather got steadily worse Sunday.  By 2:00 PM, whiteout conditions with high winds and heavy snow.  By 4:00 PM whiteout conditions abated with some reduction in snow fall.  By 6:00 PM it was a normal snow storm again.  Overnight the storm weaken.  By Monday morning its just snow showers but an inch more is still possible.


Flight is now scheduled for 10:53 AM.  The weather should be okay for the flight but the airline has to have the equipment and personnel in place too.  Airlines depend on logistics and schedules and this weather wrecks those plans.   We expect to get back somehow today.

Another Finish In The Cold Rain PDF Print
Friday, 13 April 2018 16:39

Into the woods by 9:00 AM to finish up.  Bring in all the utensil and milk cans.  Wash the floor with the remaining R/O water.  Bring in the tanks.  Disconnect the propane gas tank.  Final tasks: take down the clock and unplug the radio.  Back to the farmhouse by 11:00 AM ending the season.


But at 10:00 AM a cold rain started to fall.  Its a precursor to the snow storm coming this weekend.   The final hour of washing the floor and getting in tanks was done in the cold rain.  We've done that with regularity over the years.


36 overnight.  Cloudy and rainy today with cold wind.  Thermometer said 36.


It was a great season.  Good crop.  Well paced sap flows and cooking.  Our improvements helped make for an easier season.


We'll be back here in February 2019.

All Pans Clean PDF Print
Thursday, 12 April 2018 18:18

Into the woods by 10:00 AM.  Task for the day was to get all the pans clean:  bottom of evaporator flue pan, finishing and bottling pan.    Finished that by 4:00 PM.


Rain overnight.  Getting the buckets in yesterday was the correct decision.   36 overnight.  Cloudy and upper 40s today but felt colder.  Cloudy and windy makes it colder.


Small stuff remains:  clean hoses, clean filter press, bring back all utensils, clean milk cans, clean the floor.  Should be able to finish tomorrow.


Rain and snow forecast the next three days.  6”-10” possible depending on the track of the storm.


Back to the farmhouse by 4:30 PM.

Evaporator Day PDF Print
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 19:04

In the woods by 10:30 AM to clean the evaporator.  The front syrup pan is clean.  The inside of the flue pan is clean but still have to clean the bottom.   The ashes are sweep out of the firebox.


At 5:00 PM we returned to the farmhouse  to collect and stack the buckets in the garage for storage.  The buckets were outside, upside down the dry out.  Rain is forecast for this evening so wanted to get the buckets in while they were dry.


35 overnight.  Sunny and upper 40s during the day.  Clouds moved in after 5:00 PM.


Back to the farmhouse by 6:15 PM.

101 Gallons For Season 101 PDF Print
Tuesday, 10 April 2018 18:40

Into the woods by 7:30 AM to dump the last milk can into the finishing pan.  It was ready by 9:00 AM.  By 10:00 AM we were done bottling and totaled up the results:  23 quarts and 1 pint.  That gave us 101 gallons for the season.  Our 101st season. And nice syrup too.  Grade A Dark, Robust Flavor.  In 2013 we made 102 gallons, but the sap was quite sweet that season.


This afternoon we filled the evaporator with water and lit the fire.  After it was boiling we added the cleaning solution.  It will sit overnight then tomorrow we clean the evaporator.


The R/O is now back at the farmhouse too.


26 overnight.  Sunny this morning and up to 45.  Clouds this afternoon.


Back to the farmhouse by 4:30 PM.

« StartPrev12345678910NextEnd »

Page 1 of 11

2018 Season @ A Glance

Feb 22     200
Feb 23     100
Feb 24     209
Total        511


Sap        Gal   Brix
Feb 26   435   2.25
Mar 03   400   2.00
Mar 05   255   2.50
Mar 12   400   3.00
Mar 15   440   2.25
Mar 18   505   2.00
Mar 23   325   2.50
Mar 25   400   2.00
Mar 27   415   2.00
Mar 29   200   2.00
Mar 31   165   2.00
Apr   6     25   3.00
Total :    3965


Bottled  Qt  Pt  500  250
Mar 10    25   3
Mar 10    15  16
Mar 10    19                2
Mar 11    20   1    2     1
Mar 17    24   14  2     2
Mar 21    37    2
Mar 22    38
Mar 27    28
Mar 27      2   1
Mar 27   25    12
Mar 29   24    10
Mar 31   24    14
Apr   7   27      2   6
Apr   7   17    12  10   1
Apr  10  23     1

Total:  101 gal

2017 Season @ A Glance


Feb 22    300
Feb 23    202
Total        502

Sap      Gal     Brix
Feb 28  575    2.0
Mar 6    625    2.0
Mar 7    350    2.0
Mar 17  210    3.4
Mar 18  190    1.8
Mar 19  200    1.8
Mar 21  315    1.8
Mar 24  415    1.7
Mar 25  170    1.25
Mar 29  315    1.5
Apr   1  230    1.4
Total    3595

Bottled   Qt   Pt  500  250
Mar 05     33
Mar 09     27          1
Mar 11     31    1
Mar 12     19
Mar 23     31     7          1
Mar 25     24    12
Mar 26     18      6   12   11
Mar 27     24    15
Mar 28     18    14          1
Apr   5       8     23         36
Apr   7     11     31         1
Apr 9       16
Total      340.5 qts
85 gals

3595 gal sap
85 gal syrup
Ratio:  42:1
Sap:    2.03 Brix


In Memoriam

Ned T. Zander died Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in the home where he was born, lived, and passed. He was surrounded and comforted by his loving family.

Ned was a Maple Syrup producer. His parents introduced him to Maple Syrup making. He made Maple Syrup all his life.  First with his parents, then with brother, Paul Zander, and later with help from family and friends. He was a member of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association. In recent years he enjoyed attending the annual meeting of the North American Maple Syrup Council in various US states and Canadian provinces where he could talk about maple syrup 24 hours a day.  In October 2006 during the North American Maple Syrup Council annual meeting the participants toured his humble sugarbush.  Ned was thrilled to show his small operation to large producers from Vermont, Maine, New York and Quebec.

Ned was also an avid woodsman. Over the course of his life he cut and split approximately 700 cords of firewood for heating his home, cooking maple syrup or selling. He also made logs from his woods that he sold to Algoma Lumber Company.

We plan to continue making Maple Syrup not only to honor Ned, but also because we like doing it.

Old Maple Syrup makers never die, they just evaporate.