Hey there! As I mentioned in the last post, I tapped a few maple trees and have been cooking down the sap on the wood stove in the house in my spare time. And let it be known that it takes A LOT of sap to make a tiny bit of syrup (40:1 sap to syrup ratio). I've gotten a couple of pints so far, which I'm so excited about (hey, it's my first time!) ... but to really crank out the amount that I'd like to produce for the year (say 3-5 gallons), i'm gonna have to scale up this operation. Hence, the sugar shack project!
A sugar shack is basically what it sounds like -- A shack that is designated for making maple syrup... you can get it as hot and steamy as you want, and no reason to worry about making a mess with all the firewood debris, tracking in mud, sloshing a little sap on the floor. When the weather is right (below freezing at night, above freezing in the daytime) and the sap really starts flowing, i'll have a lot of sap on my hands so, I really wanted to get a sugar shack built this winter before prime time kicks in. In reality, it doesn't seem like this is going to happen in time for this year. BUT, the project IS underway and the original plans have morphed a bit but in a very cool way. Check out these plans (photo above and below)!
The original plan was to do the sugaring inside and to have this structure double as a wood-fired sauna at other times. However, once we completed the platform and started framing up the walls, it just seemed like it would be too big and cool of a structure to have it only for that purpose. The new plan is to finish out the structure as a cozy off-grid guest cabin complete with bathroom, kitchenette and a sleeping loft. Then, a deck will be added with a covered side-porch and that is where the sugaring will take place.... outside, with plenty of room to blow off steam... and we can keep an eye on it from inside the cabin, while doing anything from reading to playing games and making food. And, that galvanized stock tank in the image is going to be a wood-fired hot tub!
I'm so excited to see this start to take form. It will no doubt be a gradual process. This photo is the current building stage.
As you can see, we are using some awesome wood from an old barn that myself and a few friends took down last summer. I love seeing this wood being put to use. The plan is to use as much reclaimed materials as possible. Stay tuned for project updates!