DIY Canadian farm-style, or "what I did this weekend."

First, you pack about ten people into the back of a pickup truck...

Ten people in a pickup truck

...and walk through the fields...

Walking through the fields empty the buckets on the trees, spiles having been drilled previously.

Emptying the buckets

Back home, you cook in the ancient, homemade sap cooker (which was once an oil drum, long ago).

The Sap Cooker

Sometimes, you need to feed the fire. Make sure to keep adding sap when the level gets low, or when the pans threaten to boil over (overzealous fire feeders!).

Feeding the fire

If you're bored, you could always go exploring and fall through the ice on the half-frozen flooded field.

Where we fell through the ice

Late afternoon is the best time to take advantage of the fact that boiling liquid kills bacteria, by sampling straight from the pans--with the same spoon. By now the sap's thick enough to actually taste good.

Sampling the sap

The day's cooking is done when the sap's about 60% sugar. (Damn, I don't have a picture of the sugar-measuring gizmo.) The sap pans are unloaded...

Unloading the sap

...into pots, to be brought inside and finished on the stove to 66% sugar. A more controlled environment, to prevent accidental burning/overcooking/sludgification. Which would be a Bad Thing.

Emptying the sap into pots

A fun weekend. It's something I do just about every year (the farm belongs to my grandparents), but this year I managed to drag a couple friends along to slave have fun.