Maple Syrup: back breaking work

My family has been making maple syrup since I was in grade school from the three maple trees in their suburban yard. Despite what people think, it’s easy to do, even in an urban environment, and any maple tree will do– including the giant silver maples which tower over many houses in Minneapolis.

I’ve never thought of making maple syrup as back breaking work until now. It’s mainly just boiling sap. My parents are out of town, and we’re house-sitting for them. We just started boiling today, and the sap has been collecting since Saturday. One of the trees has sap collecting into a big plastic tub. I’ve filled my (8-gallon?) bucket twice, and there’s at least another bucket’s worth still in there. Another tree had exactly one bucket’s worth, and the third tree had a full 10-gallon bucket under it, which I brought inside as is. The hardest part was lifting the tub to pour into the bucket.

Now I have to boil down the sap fast enough to keep ahead of the trees. We’ve been having perfect sap weather, and I’m guessing we are getting about ten gallons of sap per day. Since Jordan is pregnant (and has a bad back to begin with) I’ll be doing all the heavy lifting. But the payoff is sweet.

It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. But at this rate, that’s a lot of syrup.