Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sugar Shack Phase One

Here it is so far! No driving 20 miles to the family's sugar bush to boil our sap this year. Two years in a row I've messed up my back doing that. Even better, this shack is downhill from just about all our maples. Did you know sap (mostly water) weighs about 8 pounds per gallon? I'm finally getting smart!

I took advantage of a break in the weather to finish the roof today. The taller posts on the south side are from a maple that was cut last summer. This year, we'll have a tarp-sided lean-to, but I have a lead on barn siding to be added sometime this year. There's also a framed steel door to be added. The things people leave behind when they move out!
By now you know it all has to fit into a permaculture-style scheme around here. Each element of the design should serve more than one function. So, in addition to boiling sap in early spring, the shack will also be a small greenhouse. I have some windows to frame in on the south side. Just picture an outward-slanting glass wall on the bottom two-thirds of the south wall. The top third needs to open to let the steam out. I figure I can get it warm enough in March and April to start some spring greens, and maybe start some peppers by late April.

If we ever have enough of anything to sell, I'll add a canopy and table on the west side for a little market stand. Oh wait; if I do that then the guv'ment inspector people will want to call us a farm. Y'all just stop by and leave something in trade instead!

In a mixture of Anishinabeg and Hebrew traditions, we'll boil sap under a "roof that leaks starlight" this year. Call it our "Sap Sukkah"! I'll have to plug all those holes when things warm up. The beauty of scrounged sheet metal.

In other permaculture principles, I saved some of our wood from an uncertain future. The County road crew was trimming trees since there wasn't any snow to plow, so I asked them to leave the branches from our trees and the neighbor's. They also left me about 5 yards of wood chips! Now I just have to get it outta the driveway!