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Our New Beginning in the North – by Kathy Adams

February 17, 2015

In 2006 we moved from Romeo to Evart, Michigan.  We were building a new home; a project we started in November 2004 and ended in May 2006.  After that, we were able to concentrate on building a new sap cabin and getting a new operation going in the north.

Summer 2007 was spent building the cabin.  We found a nice family of loggers that put up cabins.  We contracted them to put the shell of our cabin up.  Tom Flood did our foundation work.  The family of Richard Troyer had the cabin up in one week!

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After the shell was up, Greg, along with all of our family and friends, gathered weekly to finish the cabin.  We had a lot of fun putting it all together!  Come Fall, Greg, Blain, Kevin spent every Saturday and a few Friday’s doing electrical, plumbing and installing the new evaporator.  We did not manage to get a well done before the cold weather hit the end November.  So, we spent our first syrup season hauling water from the Farm.

Our family of workers.

 Our family of workers.

Our almost finished cabin.

Our almost finished cabin.

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Greg chinking the cabin.

Greg chinking the cabin.

Drilling holes for the porch posts.

Drilling holes for the porch posts.

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Roofing crew.

Roofing crew.

Between chinking parties, wood cutting days, and building projects, we had a ton of memories to enjoy for years to come.  So many helping hands took part in this operation.

The first syrup season brought an early winter with snow coming on November 30th and it did not let up through tapping weekend.  We had record snow amounts all over Michigan.  Cold temperature and ice were the norm for January and February.  Our local college, Ferris State University, closed three-times – the first time they had to close in 20 years.

We tapped on March 1, 2008 for the first time in northern Michigan.  It was partly sunny with temperatures in the 20’s.  We had quite a crowd – including two new syrup makers – our first granddaughter, Ava, 5 months old and our nephew Grant, 10 months old.  We tapped 260 trees, had a bonfire lunch and did a little sledding with the kids.  It was a wonderful first tapping day!

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The first run came on Wednesday, March 12th.  Blain and Kevin gathered the sap and collected 90 gallons.  By Friday we had our first syrup.  It was so pure and wonderful – just as good as our Romeo syrup.  We were excited!  Little Ava came out to the cabin and Grandpa gave her a sample of the first batch.  Her little tongue was just wagging in the little sap cup.  She loved it!  Grandpa said “she had to get it in her blood”!

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Maplefest – our annual family and friends weekend at the cabin – was a blast!  We had 320 gallons of sap to gather and the evaporator was going at full speed.  Little Grant sampled his first syrup and loved the sap buggy.  He was so cute!  Little cousin Lea, about 2 at the time, went through the woods saying “more sap” (pronounced “stap”).  So cute! In the cabin she would say “more st”rup”.  Funny!

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The sypup that first year was excellent!  The new evaporator was awesome!

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One thing we learned our first year is that is was more difficult to gather sap in the north than in Romeo.  There are more hills to deal with.  Blain and Missy went to gather alone the first weeknight it had to be done.  They came home and said, “Mom, if you could at least come and drive the sap buggy, it would be a huge help”.  So, we strapped little Ava to Grandma in the baby carrier, and drove the sap buggy for the gatherers.  After that, we started recruiting week day help from Uncle Ralph, Aunt Erma, Kevin and anyone willing to come and help.

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In April we were still going strong.  Another change from Romeo where the season almost always ended in March.  The boys all had a sleep in the cabin weekend and boiled around the clock because we had so much sap – 415 gallons to boil.  Our last day was April 6, 2008.  Our family crew was on hand to pull taps.  We had a fun day doing cleanup, etc.  Ava got to ride on the Case Tractor and the four-wheeler with Grandpa!  She loved that!

We set records for Adams Maple Mountain in 2008 with 83.5 gallons.  The most we had ever made.  The new and larger evaporator was a great addition to the operation!  We will cherish the memories of that first year in Evart, Michigan.

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From → History, Maple Syrup

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