Makin’ Sugar

Have you ever wondered about the maple leaf in our logo and my signature?  No, we are not from Canada.  But each year as winter starts to come to an end and spring is in sight, we make maple syrup.  Now, as you may already know, I am a Jersey girl and did not grow up in any sort of “farming way”, but my sweet hubby grew up on a farm in NH.  He grew up making maple syrup and has brought that tradition to our family.  Each year during this time, my husband is at his happiest, our house is full every weekend and we spend the most time together as a family.  Everything else is pretty much put aside for Sugaring.  For us, it is the one of the most special parts of our home life and only seemed fitting that it be part of our logo.

making maple syrup

Today, is a special treat and that sweet hubby of mine is going to tell you all about making syrup!

feb 2011 152

Hi, this is a guest writer for Finding Home, Dana, Laura’s husband. I’m here to give a peek into one of my favorite hobby’s and favorite time of year – Maple Sugaring Time.  It is six weeks of hard work, great times and an amazing product created and harvested from nature using largely the same process that has been used for generations.  Sugaring Pics(sugaring through the years at our home)

The mechanics of maple sugaring are pretty basic, what is hard to describe is the passion, our passion, for maple sugaring.

You see, I grew up doing this as long as I can remember as the farm I grew up on taps thousands of trees and makes a few thousand gallons of syrup each year.  My father’s side of my family and my mother’s side of my family both made maple syrup.  In fact, the equipment I use today came part from my father’s side and part from my grandfather on my mother’s side, who made maple syrup well into his 80’s.Dana young sugaring(me – as a young boy in our family sugar house)

There is something about sugaring that once you experience it, you begin to get a feel for the right weather and you step outside and can instantly smell and feel the air knowing it is “sugaring weather”. It is like a treasure hunt each time you check a tree to see how much sap is in the buckets. And finally, when the sap is being boiled into syrup, the smell of the steam is a smell like no other and it is so intoxicating that you stand there hoping and waiting for another wave of steam to envelope you so that you can take it all in.Feb pics - sugaring iphone 034

We are fortunate that we live in a great neighborhood with several house lots that have woods and the prerequisite for maple sugaring – maple trees!   Beginning in the early to middle part of February, we take a weekend and “tap” the trees. We get lots of help from our friends and neighbors and the day turns into a winter celebration more times than not.Sugaring tap day 2011 007

Disney Part 2 168Once the tree’s are tapped and the buckets are hung, we wait for the right weather, cold at nights (below freezing) and warm days (mid 40’s) create the right conditions for the sap to run or flow from the trees into the buckets.

We gather the sap…gathering collage

…and then its time to boil, or evaporate the sap. To make syrup, it is pretty basic. When the sap comes out of the trees, it contains about 2% sugar, when it is finished syrup, it is 66% sugar. All you need to do is cook it to evaporate off the water and after many many hours of boiling, voila, it becomes syrup!  Actually, if you are looking for more a technical description, once it reaches the temperature of 220 degrees (using a candy thermometer) it is syrup.

We boil ours outdoors in this mini version of what the pro’s use.feb 2011 185

Once we get it to a certain point, we bring it inside to boil on the stove-top to be more precise with the finishing temperature.

Feb pics - sugaring iphone 048

Then we filter and fill canning jars with them.

making syrup collage

We don’t sell the syrup, just share it with our family and neighbors who’s trees we tap.  It is not uncommon for a child to ring our doorbell with an empty syrup jar and a sad face hoping for more!

We love sugaring and hope that someday, it becomes more of Finding Home. Until then…we take what we can get.

Thanks for letting me fill in and I hope you enjoy the post.

Thanks so much Dana!

I will be sharing at:

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


About Finding Home

Welcome to Finding Home Farms where we share our favorite DIY and decorating ideas and inspiration. We believe your home should be a reflection of you and your family. Our blog is the story of our journey - and what we find along the way. Thanks for joining us!

Leave Us A Comment

17 thoughts on “Makin’ Sugar”


  1. Laura and Dana – thanks so much for sharing your Mapling experience! Natalie and I are reading the Little House on the Prairie series and just read about Sugaring! It sounds like such fun. I think we should start doing it here. Do you think you could provide some directions about the process? I would love that! Dan has actually done it but it would be helpful to be reminded of the process.

    1. Hey Helen,

      Love the Little House Series, if you guys come down soon we will definitely do a sugaring and blogging seminar combined! If you have specific questions before that, just let me know! Take care, Laura

  2. Sugaring looks like it is not only a lot of work–but a lot of fun! Having a whole group share in the day. And the work is SO worth it in the end! Thank you for showing us how to “sugar”…

  3. Every second year I go to Quebec with a group of students, and we take them to a sugar shack where they tap trees and make syrup (among other things). It’s one of the highlights of the trip for me!

  4. Laura, your husband has kept such a wonderful tradition for his family (and your neighbors) in a time when suburban folks wouldn’t think of taping their trees. That’s a great story, makes me wish we had neighbors like you guys!

  5. We all have cherised memories of our sugaring days with you guys. Dana is like the “pied piper” going through the neighborhood on his tractor with all the kids running along beside him :)Thanks for carrying on your special tradition and sharing it with so many. Hoping we can do it with you again soon. Thinking of you all during this special season and sending our love <3

  6. This is so totally cool! I love the tradition of it and I know it is great time spent together that your girls are never going to forget! Thanks for sharing, I know just a little bit about something I never knew about before!

  7. What a wonderful traditional experience that you share with your family and friends. This was such a great learning experience for me..Thank you so much for sharing this as I so very much enjoyed every word and picture…Fantastic!..

  8. Yes, I did think you were from Canada! Great read – well done!! It’s breakfast time and you’ve got me craving pancakes and maple syrup!!

  9. How wonderful! I love that it brings the family and neighborhood together and it’s a fun thing. I wish I lived nearby. I buy the wal mart brand of pure maple syrup but I’m sure it doesn’t come close. Thanks so much for sharing and Happy Sugaring!

  10. Dana,
    Looks like a great family activity that will be a life long memory for your girls.
    Are there types of maples that are better suited to syrup? I have 7 maples in my yard and a couple in neighbors’. Mostly Silver and Norway(?) maples. It would be great to get something from the maples besides 68 jumbo bags of leaves that are still falling when snow comes. 🙂

  11. Wow that was really amazing. Over here in the UK maple syrup is really expensive, but I think necessary for pancakes at the weekend. I’ve often wondered how it is produced, so thank you for sharing. PS If you ever find yourself with too much….. 😉