With the Minnesota Orchestra back in business (and now with their music director re-hired), Jessi and I purchased a subscription package of concerts to attend. With the orchestra pulling out all the stops on their repertoire, we wanted to attend almost all of the concerts. But that was unrealistic.

So when we couldn’t attend concerts that we wanted to hear, we could listen to them on the radio. And if we couldn’t listen in, there is the radio stream, which I could capture.

Radio stations have for the most part made streaming easy. Some have made attempts to secure their streams from easily being captured by using proprietary protocols like RTMP. But it remains that a stream is still a stream, and it can always be saved. It may just take a greater or lesser degree of difficulty.

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You’ve collected enough sap, and now it’s time to boil down to syrup. The first weekend of April was it for 2014, the freeze thaw cycle is over until next year. So let’s talk about turning that sap into syrup.

You don't need to be that scientific
You don’t need to be this scientific

First, plan on dedicating an entire day to cooking. Every year I’ve made syrup, it has taken me 12 hours from start to finish. When I make my boiling rig more efficient, I happen to get more sap and for some magic reason it always takes all day. Also, you want to boil outside. 5 Gallons of sap yields one pint of syrup. Would you be willing to dump 5 gallons of water in your kitchen?

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Here’s a little anecdote about Jessi’a grandma that I wrote while we were driving to her funeral. I hope that people will celebrate the good times when I’m dead and gone. I’d like my funeral to be more of an after party – an after life party if you will :)

This may seem like an outsider’s perspective, as I have no blood relationship with Nancy Vandegrift. But my wife Jessi was close to her, and because of that I was able to get to know Nancy through their closeness.

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I went to syruping demonstration a couple years back put on by the Minnesota DNR. Syruping is an age old tradition, so there’s nothing really new here, In fact most can be gleaned from the handout I received at the demonstration. I just wanted to document it for someone looking to get started.

During a year with “normal” Minnesota weather, you would want to start gathering sap for syrup around Valentines day. But this year was extra cold, and we didn’t start having good daytime thaws until March.

You could still start now, you haven’t been missing out on too much sap production (from my standpoint). Here’s what you need:

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