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Where did your jeans go today?

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Double 0 Soul View Drop Down
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anonymous

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (15) Thanks(15)   Quote Double 0 Soul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 12:17am
From late February in southern England to early April in Scotland birch sap marks the coming of spring, when the trees come out of their hibernation and suck up all the moisture they need to feed the oncoming buds and leaves.

Forget about clocks, calenders and other fancy man made spring detectors with a little attunement mother nature will show you the way. The trees are just about to bud so yesterday morning we headed into the woodland for the seasonal harvesting.
You only get a 2 week window each year which slowly moves from the south to north, wait until 20th March and you've missed it.

There are a few methods ranging from the more traditional wooden tap (you don't need to buy no fancy-shmancy metal maple tap i whittled these taps/plugs/pegs out of a branch in less than 10mins) to a less invasive method of pegging to a more industrial (frowned upon) method of tubing.


Your looking for well established trees with a good girth and large canopy which proves that its out competing the other trees and should yield plenty of sap, especially if found near a stream as these are. My taps measured 22mm in diameter so i used a 20mm bit.




Tie your containers around the tree with some twine and jam a stick underneath to support the weight.


This is my prefered, less effective but less invasive method of pegging where you force your knife just under the bark, as with the tapping method a 30 degree angle is perfect.

Tap in the peg and stroke the sap down the peg with ones finger forcing a capillary reaction and your all set, this method is much slower but hey its a lovely day, whats the rush?


Sharpened my knife on a piece of birch polypore (aka razor strop fungus) if you have a cut you can peal a strip of Polypore to use as an anti-bacterial plaster.

The birch polypore is an amazing medicinal tree mushroom, can be eaten young or infused into a tea. The fungus has been found to be anti-viral, anti-inflammatory has been used in the treatment of HIV, has a targeting/reversal effect on skin cancer ect ect...
They were carried by Otzi the Iceman yet its only 5000 years later that we are only just rediscovering its benefits.
Collected some birch bark tinder.


Went to the pub for a pint of 'Mellow Yellow' (it was very nice) and a hot chocolate.


Lubricated we returned to collect our harvest.


My brother in law tells me that throughout the Ukraine and Russia birch sap is bottled and sold seasonally as a fresh energy drink.
It can be used to make birch wine, birch beer or distill into a moonshine, prized by whiskey connoisseurs for freezing into ice cubes (being pure and not containing minerals found in mineral water or additives found in tap water) but what i don't drink Im going to reduce down into a syrup.

I plug the holes with a wooden bung and cover with 100% beeswax, the wax will melt out when the weather warms up.



Don't worry your not harming the tree in the slightest, birch sap is like natures antiseptic, you can cut off branches at this time of year with no detrimental effect whatsoever, i won't harvest these trees again for 4 or 5 years.

Much less concentrated than Maple, it has taken 42 pints of sap to make just over 1 pint of syrup, you don't need to reduce it anymore than this golden colour or it can instantly darken and taste burnt, advisable to do the final stage slowly in a bain-marie.

Remember folks take only memories.... Oh and don't forget the sap.



Edited by Double 0 Soul - 05 Mar 2017 at 3:09am
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smoothsailor View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote smoothsailor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 1:06am
what a cool adventure Double O. 
dislectic
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Dr_Heech View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Dr_Heech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 1:21am
Bloody brilliant Double-0! 
You live, you learn. And I have definitely learned something new today.




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EaseDownTheRoad View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote EaseDownTheRoad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 2:58am
Bravo Double 0 Clap
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sebsakob View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote sebsakob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 3:13am
That was a really good read! Thanks for that! Great photos as well :-)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote HP Sauce Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 5:30am
Agreed.  It was a good read, 00, and it was nice to see someone enjoying spring when it ought to be enjoyed. 

The sugar bush hasn't quite arrived in my neck of the woods because the temperatures have been hovering at -18 to -24 C. 

Truth be told, I am not really a fan of maple syrup.  Too sweet. 

My teeth like birch bark xylitol pastilles, though, and it was interesting to read the other uses you have for this lovely tree. 
HP Sauce
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote dudewuttheheck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 12:01pm
Wow. That was an awesome read! A ton of new and interesting information. Thank you for that!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote volvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 12:52pm
a truly enjoyable chapter of the OO hunter gatherer saga!
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Bob Dale View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Bob Dale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 2:11pm
I am always impressed by your knowledge and practical skills 00


Wish I owned land , any land -- but especially land with woods like that. As a kid some friends had about 55-60 acres and a good portion was wooded with a creek runnin through it . I think the state is routing a turnpike and used imminent domain (sad face)
from oklahoma
compulsive thrifting of course
no pepsi whatsoever
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote DarinS. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 8:28pm
Agree with the others, that post was rad Double O.

I went to the magic kingdom last night, drank a bunch of random tropical drinks at Trader Sam's, and watched the parade after. Recovered this afternoon by the fire pit with a couple Sculpin.




Okay
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