Sonny has been working hard to get the sugar shack completed before the maple season starts in February and March. I do believe he eats, sleeps and dreams about maple syrup. That is a good thing for all of you because it means he is passionate about maple syrup and will do his best to produce the best maple syrup in West Virginia.

Yesterday we crossed a big milestone. The evaporator and tanks are all in place so we did a little test run of the system. Sonny filled the large holding tank with water and we watched as it flowed down the pvc pipe into the evaporator. He worked up a system to where we will not have to use buckets to pour the sap into the evaporator. Instead he will pump the sap from a tank in the back of the RTV into another holding tank that sits higher than the evaporator. He can then control the amount of sap that is put into the evaporator by the use of shut off valves. Confused? Maybe a few pics will help.

(notice the sap holding tank above the evaporator)

The day was cool and perfect for starting a fire in the wood stove or wood furnace as Sonny calls it, that will heat the sap and boil off the water. We could smell the newness of the wood furnace and evaporator as the metal warmed up. Soon the water began to bubble, creating steam that rolled up from the evaporator like an ethereal smoke. It made its escape to the outside through open vents along the sides and top of the sugar shack. To look at the outside of the building one might think we had a moonshine still working in there.

Firing up the Firebox

We still have a few things to tweak to finish up, but this dry run was a success. Today Sonny is out running lines to the new trees we marked. I will have more on that tomorrow.

I really hope to give you all a play by play of the maple syrup production so you can be a part of the process and when you pour that sweet amber syrup over your pancakes and watch in anticipation as it drizzles down the sides, you will know exactly where it came from and what had to be done to get it.



  1. Ron Clay says:

    Outstanding Sonny!! Looks awesome……

    • Sonny says:

      Thanks Ron. Yesterday I started running a quarter of a mile high tensile 12.5 ga. wire (quite tight) and started tying a 3/4″ main line to it. Seems I still have several miles to go.

      • Ron Clay says:

        Wow, its great to see all that you have accomplished over the past few years. One of these days I look forward to seeing your setup. We travel to see family down 77South (Ripley) via rt50. We try to visit quarterly and around the holidays. We are still in the NVA area, all is well, kids are super. Chat later, out

  2. James Bates says:

    looks like staying at home has become a full time job. I bet it is kinda neat to be able to do all that stuff.

    • Sonny says:

      It has certainly kept us busy this fall so far. Once the infrastructure is in place it pretty much stays put. Next fall may only be for some expansion, but we also want to be sure not to make it a burden.

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