I really enjoyed this post by Kathy Harrison, author of The Just In Case Book Blog. My sentiments exactly.
Small is good. I spent most of yesterday in the summer kitchen. There was a round of work. I would empty one of the sap buckets into the holding tank, transfer sap from the pre-heater to the evaporator and from the holding tank to the pre-heater then return the bucket to the tree. Run in the house and toss some clothes in the washer and empty the dishwasher, scoot back out to the yard and grab another bucket. As the sap thickened I brought it inside to finish and started a new pan of preheated syrup. Jars had to be washed, meals prepared and there is always something to tidy up. In between I started onion and leak seeds and also got the greens started that will fill the green house in a few weeks. Bruce got home and took over outside while I helped Phoebe with a school project and put away laundry. He did supper dishes while I ran over to a select board meeting. I got home and finished more syrup while he boiled outside. It was an exhausting process. Full sap buckets are very heavy, especially when you’re slogging through slush. The rewards would not be worth it if you were counting the value of our labor. For under $100.00 I could have bought this much fine syrup. The point however is not about making or even saving money. The point is to know how to do it ourselves and to make good use of our land and resources [emphasis mine]. Time I have. Money-not so much. If I was trying to do this on a commercial level, I would hate it. The work is sticky and messy. The big guys boil and collect round the clock. They tap heavily. We only put one tap on each tree. We quit when we get tired. There are a couple of hard days but few enough that we aren’t sick of it at the end.