Boiling maple syrup on a rocket stove
Guess whose belly was
full and whose udder was empty when I showed up with milking gear in
hand Tuesday morning? I guess Abigail's finally going to let me off nursing duty so I can start enjoying this speedy transition from January-in-February to April-in-March.
My movie-star neighbor
had big plans about expanding his sugar mapling operation this year,
and I have to admit his enthusiasm was contagious. After all, tapping
maples seems to be much simpler and more dependable than getting honey
from chemical-free bees.
The kink in the maple syrupping plan, though, is boiling down all that
sap. The weather is already getting too warm to drive off the moisture
from a single tree's sap on our wood stove, and using the electric stove
seems very inefficient. But what about the rocket stove?
I filled a big pot with
box-elder sap on Monday night and decided to give the system a test run.
The good news is, one hour of rocket-stove use only consumed about half
again as much wood as is pictured above. The bad news is, the flames
only drove off about a cup or so of water, the sap ended up getting a
bit ashy, and I learned that you really do have to tweak the fuel in a rocket stove every five minutes or it'll burn down to coals.
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