We've boiled a few times and must have over 10 gallons of syrup now. Some of it is bottled, some of it is in the bottler waiting to be bottled. We've had a few bumps in the road--a broken part on the vacuum pump, and a mishap that cost us a bunch of sap we had gathered. But bumps in the road happen, and we learn from them and move on. The broken pump part would have cost us a lot more if Andrew hadn't put his Yankee ingenuity to work and come up with a temporary fix. That temporary fix is still holding, which is good, because the broken part has to be shipped in from away. That could have been devastating!
We've checked the sap flow a few different times by timing how long it takes to fill a quart mason jar. The quickest was 33 seconds. That's just under a gallon every two minutes. Not bad!
The first batch of syrup we bottled was dark/robust grade--our most popular grade by far. Our Hanna grader takes all the guess work out of grading the syrup, and it's kind of fun to see what it spits out for a number. The higher the number, the lighter the syrup. The syrup in the mason jar is the same as the syrup in the vial. The color seems to change depending on the volume of the container, but it is really the same.
It's a busy time, and bound to get busier, but it's a good time to be making maple syrup in Maine!