Bob Trelford's Sugar Maple Bush
Bob Trelford Checks the Consistency
Just as his grandfather and father before him did, Bob Trelford of
Southampton, treks into the maple sugar bush on his farm.
In what was once a chicken coop on the farm, the 'Sugar Shack' now
houses today's evaporator tank that is built over a steel firebox
encased in brick. The liquid that has been gathered from the trees over
several days and poured in to the tank, bubbles away constantly. The
air is filled with billows of steam and the warm smell of burning wood,
as Trelford stokes the fire. "If you get too much air into the
firebox," he explains, throwing another log in through the open doors,
"the fire burns away too fast but, on the other hand, you have to keep
it hot enough to keep the raw sap bubbling away. It's definitely a
A Perfect Split
With that being said, he picks up piece after short piece and splits them with an axe. "These smaller pieces will be used like kindling if the fire begins to die down."
Stoking the Fire
Once the fire gets roaring, it's time to head out along the trails to check the sap pails, all 90 of them.
Trecking out to Check the Sap
The Sap is Running -- Good
"It only takes a couple of degrees and the sun shining to increase the flow in the trees," Trelford explains, as he empties a partially filled sap bucket into his pail.
Emptying the Sap into a Pail
"The amount varies every year. It all depends on the weather. It's slow today (Thursday) because the temperature has been dropping at night. This weekend will probably be the end of it."
Pails full Bob Heads Back to the Shack
Trelford heads back along the trail to the Sugar Shack, his pails filled, yet again, with the spring sap given up by the maples.
This isn't meant to be a big money-making operation. This is something that Bob Trelford does for family and friends ... giving them a sweet taste of time spent in a sugar bush. It's his springtime hobby and the day will be busy ... it's only 9:00 a.m.