Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Spring is great


This spring has been wet … not just rain but downpours, not just occasional rather daily …. so why is spring still great? Because everything is alive in the yard and full of potential for the summer to come. Between rain showers, I took a stroll through the yard to capture what we have growing and why I enjoy spring in Ohio.

Here are some pictures ….

Glow Light Box Upgrade


Last weekend Dakota and I planted some seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. This week they started coming up. So, the next step is to get them some light. Last year I tried using LED Christmas lights. It seemed to work with one complaint … the lights were so far away the plants still got tall and scraggly. So, this year I decided to put a false floor in the light box so that I could get the seedlings up to the light and lower it as they grow.

To accomplish this I cut out a scrap piece of plywood to fit in the bottom of the light box. Then I drilled four holes and hammered in some T-nuts. Finally, I welded some wing-nuts on threaded rod and viola … false floor.  Here’s hoping it works but even if it doesn’t … it was only an hours work and mostly scrap material.

Making Maple Syrup Part 2 – Boiling Down


Once you have sap collected, the second part of making maple syrup is to boil it down and concentrate the sugars until it forms syrup. It takes roughly 40 gallons of syrup to make 1 gallon of syrup. So, it’s prudent to do the bulk of the boiling outside … otherwise you will have a sauna in your kitchen. The more concentrate the sugar content, the higher the boiling point. So, you can judge when it’s reached the syrup stage by closely monitoring the temperature with a candy thermometer. I finish the syrup in a pot inside so that I can watch it more closely. The syrup stage is roughly 7-8 degrees above the boiling point of water. Once you reach this stage you can either pour it into jars and store it in the fridge to eat, or process it in a water bath canner for longer storage.

You can find more details here:

First syrup of 2011


I had sap boiling from 10 am – 6 pm today. That was enough time to make it through about 10 gallons of sap. The new burner setup worked great but I ran out of propane near the end. That’s an easy fix though …

The result was a little over 3 pints of syrup and it does taste great! I’ll be working on putting together the second video for how-to make maple syrup in the next day or two.