Thursday, March 19, 2020

Plenty of time to work on the cabin now.

So with all the cancelations (schools, Odyssey of the Mind, bars and restaurants etc. can't even get coffee at the Coop) there is plenty of time to get back to the cabin project. Friend Charlie Knox came to lend a hand. and see what it was all about.

With the window frames in place the logs for these walls will be shorter pieces. But, with a very  limited log supply I needed to think and plan carefully for the full length logs that will be needed to finish at least two rounds above the windows and door frame to tie the walls together. So after finding and tagging the 8 full length logs for the top two rounds the rest of the log supply was fare game.

The combination of lengths needed was posted on white foam core on each wall section -

2 - 5 foot pieces for north door side wall
1- 4 foot piece and one 6' - 2" piece for the opposite south wall with large window

1 - 13' - 3" piece for the west wall with no window
2 - 5' - 4" pieces for the east wall with the small window

These pieces were located, cut and tagged with their lengths to avoid any confusion in cutting and putting up the next three rounds to "reach" the top of the door and window frames.

As the walls go upward "reaching" takes on an important meaning and scaffolding would be needed to get the job done. I decided to use scrap pallets form the local lumber yard for this. I was able to screw the pallet to the cabin as shown in the picture above. Doing this allowed me to keep the joint corners open so measuring and plumbing could still be done. Very slick!

So here you can see the full setup. Pallets support the movable 2x6 planks that will provide the working surface for the next 4 rounds to bring the walls up to the top of the door and windows. Then I will have to reassess the situations. Ramps will be used to get the logs up and on to the walls. More pictures of that process to come.

With the Covid-19 restrictions getting tighter (no gatherings larger than 10 people) and businesses limiting access I got the urge to set up the Maple Syrup factory so I will add that to the blog post.

The last time I made Maple Syrup was 2011.

Step -1. Drill and tap the Maple trees. I put out 25 bags. The sap run is in full swing as the clear bag shows the amount of sap that ran in just 30 minutes. Now I would go home and set up the factory as you will see along the way. Note: Small trees get 1 bag, medium trees 2 and the largest trees at the end of this picture got 3 bags.

The next morning the bags were emptied (each bag can hold 4 gallons of sap when full). First the bag is pulled off the spigot in the tree (1/2" diameter holes are drilled 2 - 3 inches deep) and then emptied into a 5 gallon bucket. When two buckets are full they are dumped into 10 gallon milk cans in the back of my MiEV. Full milk cans are driven back to the Factory where a submersable fountain pump is used to fill 5 gallon bucket again for transfer to a 20 gallon garbage can (we'll call this the "feeding can").

Now the 5 gallon buckets are dumped into the "feeding can" on the left. It is equipped with a site tube
on a meter stick so the level of the sap in the can is shown. The feeding can is also raised up so that gravity will do the work from now on. The black hose connects the feeding can to a stock tank float that is connected to the boiler. This meters the sap in so as to keep the level of liquid in the boiler about 1" deep and a full boil going all the time. In the old days I had to keep watch over this and add sap when the level got low. I have some memorable disaster stories to tell about what happened when the level got to low!

The stainless steal boiler was some sort of small milking operation transfer tank. I got it from Clyde White in the 70's and do not remember the exact usage it was for but makes a dandy sap cooker! The burner is a 6 gun unit that sits below the cooker and I closed in the area with sheetmetal. The burner is fed by propane. This year I learned that the 100 pound LP tanks are no longer used so I had to go with a 100 gallon unit. Lasts longer and less trouble exchanging tanks. Plus I will need a tank this size to run the heater I will be putting in my workshop that I will be building this summer. More to blog about.

And how much will all this fun cost? What are the numbers? Well I can tell you that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of Maple Syrup. To fill the 100 gallon tank to 80% it cost $127. Will know after a few batches what the real costs to make a gallon of 100% pure Maple Syrup is. But the cost of having this kind of fun is as they say Priceless!

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