Fifteen years ago I knew Crestwood would be home one day. The neighborhoods around Owen Conservancy offer a diverse choice in homes. Prices range from $250,000 to over a million for homes within a quick walk into the Conservancy or Lake Mendota. I bought my home in the maple sugar season of 2014. My tiny backyard syrup operation a drew a crowd of curious neighbors, many who now have their own “family operation”. It’s easy to do and well worth the effort; guaranteed to get kids out of the house. Expect to use about 10 gallons of sap to produce 1 quart of syrup. (A quart will last a year because nobody wastes a drop.)
The entire process can be done at nearly zero cost. Sap taps are available new or used, or fashion your own out of wood. I bought my stainless steel buckets from people in northern WI who converted their family commercial operation to a tube system. If carrying buckets is not your thing, tube systems are available.
In Dane County, sap may be running in late February when the day temps go above freezing and the night temps fall into the 20’s for several days. I use wood or LP to evaporate. This month I am building a Rocket Stove to get a more intense direct flame with minimal heat loss (can’t get that over an open fire and windy days are tough on the LP flame).
Chili, hot dogs, friends go great with an afternoon making maple syrup. Be careful though, you’ll get hooked. Let me know if you need any guidance to get started.