Author Topic: A question of maples  (Read 3122 times)

John Kokas

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A question of maples
« on: October 24, 2016, 08:38:52 PM »
I got a surprising request from my grandchildren the other day.  "Grandpa do you know how to make maple syrup?"  Growing up on a farm in northeastern PA, maple sugaring was a time honored tradition with many families as well as mine.  Obviously my answer was yes, and immediately the response was can we make some this winter?  So I am already making plans to build a small homestead type evaporator/finisher from a 55 gal drum and leftover parts.  As I was thinking about my own situation, I started to wonder if we have sugar or black maples along the ROW, up around AC, and the sawmill clearing.  Since I know that sugaring is a long standing tradition in Maine, I was wondering if this is something we might want to entertain in the future.  All thoughts/comments welcome.
Moxie Bootlegger

James Patten

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Re: A question of maples
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 09:15:00 PM »
Maine Maple Sunday is usually the last Sunday in March, IIRC.  We have thought about doing something in the past on this day, but it hasn't gotten past the thinking about stage.

I'm not real good on my tree identification (other than pines), but I don't think we have that many maples on our property.


Mike Fox

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Re: A question of maples
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2016, 09:17:20 PM »
We have saved one white maple so far, not the best for sugaring, but you can make syrup out of it, and am hoping to keep Fred away from it this winter. I have not noticed any sugar maples there though.
Mike
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Philip Marshall

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Re: A question of maples
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 09:24:14 PM »
I've seen a fair amount of red maple along the railroad, but not much sugar maple if any I'm afraid. (I suspect it may be a matter of poor drainage, since while red maple is happy to grow in a swamp, sugar maple prefers deeper soils and doesn't like "wet feet".) Black maple (Acer nigrum) is more of a Midwestern species that doesn't really get east of NY and PA, and I don't think it occurs at all in the state of Maine.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 09:30:17 PM by Philip Marshall »

John Kokas

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Re: A question of maples
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2016, 09:38:05 PM »
Actually Red Maple comes in right behind Sugar and Black, and a little ahead of Norway with Silver trailing the pack as far as sugar content on average.  I have all on my property though not in large numbers.  I was thinking more on small scale with an emphasis on bringing people into the museum, train ride, stop at the sugar shack (maybe AC or part of saw/shingle mill area, then return.  Another item of Maine history that ties with the RR and life in the valley.
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Philip Marshall

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Re: A question of maples
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2016, 09:57:05 PM »
Even if there are none there now, we could always plant four or five sugar maples as shade trees around the sawmill at TOM and plan to tap them in 30 years or so...

Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: A question of maples
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2016, 10:13:24 AM »
I'm glad this topic came up. I'm going to actively put some time into this concept- that of an event based around sugaring and Maine Maple Sunday this Spring with thoughts of developing some sort of plan we can employ.

If anyone would care to head over to Ships and discuss it over a couple of tall stacks with tree syrup I'd be all for it! We can keep discussion going on here for now. So without thinking about ToM specifically, I thought of putting a bulk tank on one of the flatcars to go around and collect sap. The sap could then be drained by gravity into an evaporator. For the time beings, before a sugar house is set up, we could demonstrate the older method of sugaring using a cauldron over a wood fire.

Take care,
Steve