My parents own a camp in the woods located 20 minutes from town. In the early spring it is used to make Maple Syrup. The snow on the unploughed roads makes it hard to get to without tracks on the vehicle.
By March 19th, 2011, enough sap was collected to run the evaporator for the first time this season.
The sap is placed into the evaporator and a fire is stared underneath it. The sap is heated up until it reaches its boiling point (the temperature limit where a liquid turns into a gas). The water in the boiling sap is converted to steam and the steam is vented out the roof. The more sugars in the sap the higher the temperature it takes to make it boil. The temperature that the sap boils increases as more and more water is removed. It takes between 30 to 50 liters of sap to make one liter of syrup that is at least 66% sugar. When the syrup has a boiling temperature of 3.94°C (7.1°F) above the boiling point of water it is ready. The boiling temperature of water must be checked regularly since it varies with altitude and barometric pressure.
The plastic chimney is enough to take all the steam outside. Once the boil starts more stream than smoke is coming out the roof. Once the evaporator is running there is not much to do. Like watching paint dry while drinking beer.