Sap’s Running in Amish Country!

Hello, friends. Dave here. We’re busy collecting and boiling maple sap these days. Have eighteen gallons of syrup finished, and a pretty good “run” today. Looks like the next few days may be decent. Went for a short drive today to see if my Amish neighbors are collecting sap too, and they are. We’ll post some pictures here with some explanations. Continue reading

It’s That Time Again, Part 1: Sap’s Running

sugar maple

Editor’s Note: Welcome to new blogger Dave Ross! Dave lives and works in Kidron, just a stone’s throw from Lehman’s store on the square. We think you’ll enjoy his reflections about life in our little village. This week, he’s been busy gathering sap, boiling and canning syrup for an annual church mission meal featuring homemade maple syrup.

At last!  It’s beginning to feel like spring.  The signs are everywhere.  We waited a long time for this.  Old man winter held a tight grip for too long.   I’m seeing birds on my walks that I haven’t seen for a while.  Bluebirds, Red Wing Blackbirds, Kill Deer, Robins.  And they seem to be happy about the nicer weather too.  They’re expressing their delight with beautiful trilling melodies and cheerful bird songs.  It’s a sound we get so used to that we most often tune it out.  This time of year, it’s very welcome sound — a sure sign of spring.  Take a walk and listen.  Brings cheer to the heart.

Little yellow flowers are beginning to open in the ditch part way up the Zuercher Road hill, and Mrs. A showed me her blooming crocuses.  So happy for wonderful neighbors like them.  They’re letting me tap their four very large Sugar Maples this year, and those trees are putting out large amounts of clear, sweet sap.   Continue reading

Maple Sugaring In Western Massachusetts

Sap Bags for gathering maple sap for syrup

Want replace your old bucket? Try an affordable Set of 10 Sap Bags from Lehmans.com

There are really no words for just how loathsome it is outside right now. Snow, then freezing rain, then more snow and more rain. Gushing torrents of rain and it’s 40 degrees so the snow has turned to a foot of sloppy mush. Tonight will drop back in the 20’s so tomorrow morning the yard will be a rock-hard skating rink that will turn to slush by mid-day. Yep. You gotta love spring in Western Massachusetts

The only redeeming feature I can come with right now is the appearance of buckets on the sides of the maple trees that line the back roads where I live. True. A lot of the metal buckets have been replaced with plastic tubing and large plastic holding tanks but there are enough old timers like us who boil maple sap down to syrup, not for a living but to provide syrup for our families and maybe a bit extra to sell at roadside stands. Continue reading

Molly Made Her First Maple Syrup!

Backyard Sugarin' Book

Want to know more about gathering sap and making syrup? Try Backyard Sugarin’ from Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

The Origin Story
I’m a self-employed stained glass artist, hippie, geek, freak, and hands-on type person.  I just bought a new-to-me house after years of apartment dwelling, and because it was a foreclosure, I had received a “you must fix immediately” list from my friendly neighborhood insurance company the minute I closed on my new abode.  The list was long and non-negotiable. But that list is inadvertently responsible for my lark into maple syrup making.

Item number 3 on their “Fix immediately” list was “tree trimming”, and in the midst of pruning a rather stately specimen, my partner and I noted that there was liquid coming from the pruned branches, similar to the amount one sees from a drippy faucet. Thank goodness for Google and smartphones, because we established within a few minutes that the tree in question was a sugar maple, and that another variety of maple was also on the property.  I read that any maple can produce sap for maple syrup, but that the sugar content varies by species.

Since I tend to find domesticity that results in stuff I can eat a rather cool concept given my self-employed artist status and hippie tree-hugging ways, I thought it would be nifty to try making maple syrup, especially if I could find the supplies to do it  around the house.  I mean, I can’t remember phone numbers for squat, but prices on food? Sheesh… I know how much maple syrup costs, and with the aforementioned (and expensive) list of “must fix immediately” decided that beyond the novelty of it, maple syrup making would be pretty cost-effective in terms of the time invested.  Continue reading