Yesterday I started to boil off sap with the turkey fryer. Only, I couldn't get the flame quite right. Oh, I got orange flame right up the sides of my 5 gallon pot all the way to the rim, but I couldn't get a blue flame.
Orange flame just ain't gonna get sap boiled. It's gotta be blue.
Then, DH comes home from work (9.5 hours yesterday--I started keeping a log last Monday, as it seems to me in the last year he has put in more than 40 hours a week every darn week, with 50 being the 'usual' anymore. Last week: 54.5 hours in 5 days. A rant about what a slave-maker salaried positions can be might be in the future of this blog. . .). He takes one look at my lovely useless orange flame and says: "That's not working right. Didn't I tell you?"
Argh! No, he had not told me, last Fall when he last brewed beer with the turkey fryer, that it wasn't working correctly. A fine thing to find out now, when I have 20 gallons of sap on hand to boil, and another 5-7 gallons hanging on trees out in the woods!! Why oh why could I not have found this out six months ago, when I would have had time to repair or procure at an affordable cost, another burner for the turkey fryer?!? (Have I mentioned yet that I'm not liking how busy DH's job has kept him for the last twelve months or more? Even when he's home, his head is at work. . .)
Okay, calm down. Deep breaths. Don't look at all that sap sitting waiting to be boiled. Don't think about what a great run there should be this week (two days near freezing followed by five more in the 40's is the forecast). Think. Think. Think.
What can I heat my sap with? What do I have on hand that I can do a little redneck engineering on?
Well, I do have all those concrete blocks I had wanted to build my evaporator with for this year's sugaring off. But I don't have a sap pan or pans to use with them. Hmmm. Think. Think. Google an idea. Yes! It appears it is possible.
You see, I have at least a dozen giant foil pans 4" deep (or more, I'll have to go measure them) that Mother-in-Law gave me eons ago and all I've found to do with them is make Chex mix at Christmas time. Which only requires one pan. The other use has been to start seeds (in yogurt containers or peat pellets) in three to four more of them each Spring. The rest have been sitting on top of the upright freezer in the basement for at least half a decade.
Apparently, disposable foil pans can be used as sap pans, over an open fire, on an evaporator. Now I have blocks, pans, and lots of firewood.
Tomorrow, I shall put Plan B into action. Or is it Plan C, since Plan A was originally to build an evaporator, and then that plan was scrapped for using the turkey fryer, which would make the turkey fryer Plan B? Or is this Plan A 2.0?
Whatever. It's what I'm going with. I'll let you know soon how it works out.
(BTW, it has now been a full 9 hour work day for DH today, and no call from him yet saying he's on his way home, start cooking dinner.)