Sweet Sweet Syrup!!

Have you heard? This Spring has been a great Maple Sugar Season!!

Extended periods of cold nights and mild, sunny days have blessed local sugar makers and the Kindle Farm School with lots and lots of sap. This year we put in 200 taps on our wood lot in the hills above our farm. But getting the sweet stuff takes a lot of hard work.

In November our students culled and prepped our woodlot. With newly acquired logging skills some students began going through our forest, working on our land management plan and preparing for sap lines to be put in. As fall turned to winter we began installing lines, setting up our pan and building a makeshift sugar house. Finally, the sap began to flow!

Under the guidance of Eli Eckley and Earl Cook, the community began boiling the 1500 gallons of sap into nearly 40 gallons of syrup. It took 6 cords of wood which were gleaned from our forest. Half way through the season we started using Steve White’s Reverse Osmosis Machine, which reduces the water in the sap by 75%. This reduced our wood fuel consumption, our boiling time, and hardship on the equipment drastically. Thanks Steve White!

Our students developed vocational skills that have been alive and well in Vermont for hundreds of years. When the forest is your classroom the students have a chance to encounter “real world” problems and solve them with thought, skill and a little bit of grit.

To celebrate this large achievement we had a rousing “Sweet Spring Fling” celebration complete with a pancake breakfast, snow games and a generous helping of -- yep you guessed it -- MAPLE SYRUP.

All this due to the generosity of New Chapter, Lester Dunkley, Ken Whitworth at Brattleboro Sheet Metal, lots of local businesses, community members and the hard work of our students and staff. THANK YOU!!