It’s that time again here on the southern range of the sugar maple trees. 🍁 🍁 🍁 We start early for sure because the rollercoaster of temperatures is quite extreme here in the Ohio River valley. I thought about waiting because of an intense cold snap ahead and you also never know when summer will hit in March so to speak.
This is my third year with it here at the lake in terms of full time suggarin, not just helping like years before. I have more of the right equipment and supplies in place so on day 1, 50 taps going in was quite easy. Glass jars, plastic lids, plastic tubing, and plastic 5-gallon jugs to transport the sap is our outdoor setup. I like glass what can I say. I try and avoid the sap water sitting in plastic for too long, so I have my system/equipment of choice.
I have the trees I want to tap fairly squared away after doing it these last couple of years and seeing which ones make sense in terms of access and grouping. It’s one thing to tap a tree on a steep hillside, it’s another to collect many times during the sap run season. And I phase some trees in and out in that respect and am trying a new zone this year and scaling back in another zone. That way I keep around 80 taps which seems to be a sweet spot for me to keep up with it and it be a good challenge. I may get up to about 90 this year, and who knows maybe I will pull the taps on the southside early and try the northside run for the first time this year where we have really dense sugarbush in some spots. For sure less accessible but as we scale up, a venture needed.
It is pretty amazing to see on a warm day in mid-January just how immediately the trees are dripping on the south facing hillsides that I tap on. On my north facing hillsides that I am constantly looking at but rarely walking on during the winter, I can’t imagine starting there for at least another month. This does show the amazing power of microclimate and season extension.
And in just 28 hours we had our glass 2.5-gallon jars filling and reminding to wash my evaporator pan and find my funnel, ha. Which I did, then we began to boil and several rounds of collecting from the different zones. 30 gallons of sap in day 1 of harvests with more taps put in on day 2 as well. All in all, this is a multi-day boil and should be around gallon and a quarter of syrup. I lose track after a while of how much sap is harvested. Time to rinse the hydrometer off, get the finishing pot ready to go, and some bottles ready. It looks like only a bit of our nice bottles will be sold this year as the price of glass is crazy, so more low-key sales this time!
And like that after hours and hours, days really, of boiling it becomes syrup. My busy life only lets me do it on electric, but it works! This time I finished in my regular kitchen, not outdoor kitchen and it was great as the wind was whipping with a snowstorm approaching. The syrup came out light and full of flavor. Like a true stuffy connoisseur, I will call it vanilla overtones with a tang of citrus in the back end. With temperatures in the 40’s for a couple days this week after a good cold snap, the trees should be gushing again! We got our 1.2 Gallons boiled away and a sugar resource secured for our homestead. Happy suggarin y’all!
As stated in the last blog post, we started an edible landscaping company in 2021. We have amassed the pictures into a portfolio page with descriptions. It’s been great to work in so many different parts of the tri-state and beyond but still in the Ohio River Valley.
Fruit trees are being ordered, staff is being sorted, clients being onboarded right now for this exciting year ahead!
At the beginning of the year, I didn’t even know who “we” was and that a proper company with numerous employees was really going to be formed. I knew I had a busy fall 2020/winter 2021 designing and several landscaping jobs ready to go, mainly through the startup called Thrivelot. I knew we had one piece in order which was the plants, since here at Treasure Lake we were hosting Cincinnati Permaculture Institute’s Growing Value Nursery. And then it catapulted and was a great way to actually launch further businesses, fund developments on the homestead, and help pay for the labor to maintain it all. But the “who” was the hardest part at first but quickly became the easy part cause a great crew was assembled. And how did we retain them? We paid well.
The edible landscaping projects were diverse and hinged off of my agro- ecology style of permaculture and having installation experience in the past throughout the world and at my homestead. Beyond that I had really only done one small outside installation in 2020 in in the tri-state of Cincinnati, Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana. Thus the business was built around the fact that we have a 60-acre homestead headquarters owned by my family here at Treasure Lake, a V8 Cargo van I already owned, and the TreeYo brand /LLC legal structure. You need certain things to begin, first clients, then you need tools and ways to get them there. You learn who to order mulch from, who to buy more plants from, who to source the this and that’s. But we do supply our own wood posts and compost, which really helps as well as some plants like comfrey.
We took on projects big and small and I give tons of credit to the crew. We did small urban projects, large urban projects, suburban lots, larger rural properties, and an out-of-town, congress funded Permaculture project at VA Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. We also worked with the municipality of Colerain in Cincinnati at their parks, which launched our goat scaping service. We worked with food forests, hedgerows, windbreaks, earthworks, paver and stone walls, herb gardens, orchards, high density apple orchard while constantly educating clients. We also sold lots of plants through our edible landscaping and through the nursery directly. We planted a lot of natives and a lot of edibles and those that cross both of those. Basically, we created a lot of Harvest and Habitat, which is foreshadowing to more to come. We did a lot last year and look forward to more this year!
Not all of 2020 was so bad, like having the space an time to plant trees and do the design documentation to illustrate it. These visuals will help to digest this progress.
Health is a form of wealth. Here is 13 Health Tips for Better Immunity that I wrote 18 months ago but only now able to press publish. Its a very long road of health, its hard in fact. Do what you can eh. A lot has to do with supporting your micro biome.
Instructional video on food forest management. Chop and drop, annual seeding, and spreading microbe love. From the banks project at treasure lake.
The next day course April 18th will be a fun one and continue our mushroom mission and collaboration with maestro Romain Picasso. Learn the basics of mycology and mushroom inoculation both theoretically and out in the field. Learn from our trials and errors and successes at Treasure Lake in Northern Kentucky and the abundance in your lands is sure to follow. https://treeyopermaculture.com/permaculture-design-courses-pdc/mycology-mushroom-inoculation-class/
New TreeYo EDU Article: Beyond food supply, one of the ways in which humans have increased their life expectancy, in my opinion, is to have hot water on demand. We all consume it, but have we ever thought just how much energy this consumes and how that energy is produced? At nearly 20% of household consumption on average in the USA, well thats a lot and there are alternatives for sure! This article details appropriate technology features for just that.
Timber and Forestry: Its actually the reason I got into Permaculture, not agriculture. So this article is a special one for me full of different viewpoints, designs, and videos. Check it out as this is a vital topic in how ecosystems are managed worldwide. https://treeyopermacultureedu.com/chapter-6-trees/timber-and-forestry/