Sap’s Rising–Mishap Maple Sugar

It’s that time of the year again, the nights are below freezing and the days are above freezing.

I notice a lot of blogs and YouTube videos about maple sugaring. Last year’s season extended to late fall when I pulled from my deep freeze the six or seven gallons of raw sap I had left over from that spring. I had to do something with the frozen sap because I needed room to freeze all the late season marinara, peppers, and squash from the growing season.

Why didn’t I boil the sap down during the early spring? I didn’t have enough for a full boil and was hoping I would get that little bit more! Last year was a weird season. It started, stopped, and then started again and it was warm long enough for the bugs to come out. Once those flies start getting into my sap buckets, I consider my season over.

My sap gathering system is a very simple one. Maybe I should change to plastic spiles and tubing that leads to closed carboys. I tend to use what I have if it isn’t worn out, and I only have time and money for a couple of boils anyway, so this year I am once again using my system of metal spiles into covered ice cream pails.

I did my boil of those last few gallons in a stainless steel pot on an electric hot plate on my patio and just let it evaporate slowly. (Not a bad way to boil down a little bit of sap with minimal effort.)

A few tips:

  • Start the first gallon of sap boiling on your kitchen stove then move it outside to the hotplate set as high as it will go.
  • Add subsequent sap in small enough quantities that you don’t have to take it back into the house to get it boiling again!
  • Put a fine mesh colander over the top of your pot to exclude bugs and tree debri.
  • Check on the simmering sap every once in a while to skim the foam that forms naturally as it simmers.
  • Watch it more closely near the end when the bubbling liquid begins to look glossy. (After all your hard work you don’t want to burn or overcook it.)
  • Bring the pot into the house to finish cooking on your kitchen stove where you can keep a close eye on it.

Speaking of overcooking, I overcooked my last batch of syrup. I didn’t burn it, but I went that smidge past the borderline between syrup and sugar.

Fortunately, I realized what I had done quickly enough to get out my candy molds and scrape most of it out of the pot before it turned into concrete! (This happen very quickly so you have to be fast!)

What I ended up with was maple sugar candy and granular maple sugar. I’m not a big fan of maple candy, so I use mine like sugar cubes in tea. Maple sugar is precious considering how much sap you boil down to get it! Gallons and gallons of sap to get just a little bit of sugar. If every sweet food that we eat were sweetened with maple sugar, there would be a lot less obesity in the world! Begonia

Posted in Cooking and Food Preservation, Gardening and Foraging | 12 Comments

Garden Memories

This a blog that I started and never got back to. It was supposed to be a garden update–hah! I was going to trash it and then I started to just look at the pictures and long for good weather. Pitiful–I’m Pitiful.

Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to delete it. I took so many pictures this summer (which is how my blogs generally start–with an image). Somehow I didn’t get those blogs written at that time.

Well, I’m determined to catch up.

So–get ready for some timely and some untimely entries here on My Little Farm in Town. I think that some of the things I will write about will be useful to you or maybe just fun. Take Care, Begonia


It’s been raining for the last few days. I’ve been working in the garden each day doing a little something. This is generally how I get the job done–20 minutes here, a half hour there.

This job, however took most of a Saturday and then a couple more trips to the village compost site for chips. Woodchips break down eventually and need to be replaced. They also create quite a nice seed bed. Last year I had so many little annuals and perennials popping up that I couldn’t bear to cover them.

This year I had no choice. The front garden looked too disreputable. The first step was digging out all of the weeds and seedling and harvesting the edible plants. In this case mache was the green that I harvested.  After hauling away the weeds to the compost and transplanting stuff that I needed to fill some empty spots. I ended up with four dish pans of transplants for my neighbor who is always to take the overflow.

Here you can see the garden in all it’s early season perfection before I planted all those unruly tomatoes and peppers and green beans! Begonia

Posted in Gardening and Foraging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bloglet: Cat in a Hat

[I just want preface this bloglet by saying that no kitties were harmed or irritated in any way in the making of this blog.]

I’ve been doing a lot of crocheting lately. I don’t have any outdoor animals, and with 10 inches of snow on the ground, the only kind of gardening I’m doing is the indoor variety!

In general, I’m not into dressing animals. But when I saw the pattern for this little hat, I felt I had to make one for our Samwise. Sammy was very good-natured about wearing his little blue hat that matches his eyes.

I then took it off and let him play with the tassels!

I also sent one of these hats in a Christmas box to my youngest “boy” who has two cats–neither of which would tolerate them for even one second–hence, no cute pictures. 😦

However, one of my sister’s cats was happy to model this pink bonnet.

I found the pattern for this little hat on a crochet vlog that I follow. Crystal got some static for photographing one of these hats on one of her cats. (He is very easy going like our Sammy.) I’ve also used my Sam as a model for some scarves I gave away and got a “poor Sammy” comment on that as well. Sam was fine. He sat there and purred! He liked the attention. Begonia







Posted in Bloglets, Gardening and Foraging | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments