On March 2nd, Sonja and I helped my parents in collecting maple sap and making maple syrup. My dad built quite the firebox from a wood stove and we used a evaporator table made by a welder in Orillia. Eventually, we even incorporated a fan to create a high temperature flame and had a roiling boil.
My Dad made a mound of snow and placed our sap syrup barrels within them to act as a natural fridge while we collected enough sap to eventually boil it down. The use of the snow blocking the driveway as a temporary cold-house around the sap is a great example of permaculture thinking — there is a lot of promise for snow and ice houses to preserve fruit and vegetables.
While Sonja and I were up, we managed to fill 9 bottles with syrup. It tasted so delicious. We also drank a few cups of the sap fresh from the tree — the taste is so smooth and silky — caramel and butter water. In hindsight I wish we had filled up a few bottles with the sap to enjoy for the rest of the week!