The Sugar Deck

Syrup season is in full swing! And now that the fridge is so full of sap that I don’t have room for my usual assortment of super-old salsas and aging celery, we need to make some room. When people make maple syrup, they usually boil the sap down in a cozy outdoor shed called a sugar shack. As I learned in my first year of sugarin’, you don’t want to make your kitchen your sugar shack because dripping wet walls are incompatible with wallpaper, household electronics, and that pleasant feeling of not living in a steamy tropical jungle.

We don’t have a sugar shack, but we do have a deck. Instead of boiling sap in the house this year, we bought an outdoor stove: it’s basically a big pot for frying turkey. It’s powered by a propane tank and, because most people use it for heating oil, it has an annoying safety timer that shuts the gas off after 15 minutes. You can override it if you get outside and manually reset it before the timer goes off.

sugar shack 1.JPG
the sugar deck

Safety’s cool, I guess. But what’s even better is me not having to get up every 14 minutes to push a little button. I feel like that guy on Lost who was being held hostage by the countdown timer he had to reset every 108 minutes to prevent some terrible, unknown fate. Except I would kill for 108 minutes . . . in 14 minutes, I don’t even have time to watch half an episode of Lost.

It takes allll daaay to boil down the day’s sap collection (about 6 gallons in our case). And this is what we get out of it:

a tiny jar of syrup from a giant pot of sap

And just to clarify because people are asking me: No, I’m not still watching Lost, you guys. Give me some credit. I finished that show like a year ago, seriously.

Bonus photo for those who aren’t especially squeamish:

This is why we filter. Ants and flies will always find their way into the sap jugs.

One thought on “The Sugar Deck

  1. Now I understand maple syrup is so costly. I admire your fortitude. I got a kick out of the Lost analogy. I was a devoted fan of that series.


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