Virtue signaling is a public assertion of a moral or allegedly moral opinion in order to make one seem good and acceptable to a particular in-group they desire to identify with. But in what ways do we do this as Christians?Read More
To one who suppresses the innate knowledge of God’s truth on the conscience, wrong begins to look right, and right begins to look wrong. And they have no idea it’s happening to them. They become completely convinced that all they stand for is justifiable and fundamental to a cause they now view as righteous.Read More
In part one of this two part series, we demonstrated the outdoor part of the process. That included collecting the sap and boiling it most of the way down. Now for the indoor part. Some Maple-sugaring people just call this “finishing” the syrup, for, uh, obvious reasons.
This is the equipment you’ll need for finishing your maple syrup. Everything is either stainless steel or glass.
From left to right we have a funnel, a syrup testing cup, a hydrometer, candy thermometer, and glass bottles. Also notice both a paper, disposable pre-filter cone (kind of like a coffee filter), and a reusable cloth filter bag.
There are many suppliers online for syrup bottles. Alternatively, you could use mason jars. We use syrups bottles because sometimes we give them as gifts and they look more “official”.
Just make sure you sterilize the bottles and caps with boiling water. Syrup is really quite sensitive to bacteria.
When you finished the boiling the sap outside in your evaporator, you’ll want to finish boiling inside. Between those two steps, it’s a good idea to filter the sap one time through a paper filter. We got ours on amazon here, but I’ve even heard of some people using coffee filters.
After filtering, the sap may look like syrup and smell like syrup, but it still has too much water content to be syrup so you have to keep boiling. Put in a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. When it gets to around 7 degrees hotter than the boiling point of water at your elevation, it’s pretty much syrup.
In addition to temperature checks, you should try to test the density of the liquid. When it gets to a specific density it’s officially syrup. Pour some of the sap/syrup into the testing cup when it’s getting close to temperature and slowly place in the hydrometer. They’re very delicate instruments. DON’T DROP IT IN! Ask me how I know.
Just follow the instructions with your hydrometer to test if the syrup is finished. We got ours at Tractor Supply.
Once the sap is at the right density, it’s officially syrup. But you’re not done yet. You need to filter it again. We did a test once to see how much filtration is needed. The picture below show from left to right: paper and cloth filtration, double paper filtration, and single paper filtration. You can see the difference in the bottom of the bottle and the overall clarity. All that “gunk” in the bottom is sugar “sand”, or more properly “Nitre”.
Filtering should be done immediately when the sap is ready because hot syrup filters much better than cold syrup. Here we’re running it through the cloth cone filter lined with a paper filter. Of the methods we’ve tried, this give us the clearest syrup.
After filtering the syrup this time, it gets bottled. It’s important that the syrup is still hot. That sort of helps with further insuring a sterile environment in the bottle. Once capped, lay the bottles down so the inside of the cap gets sterilized too.
This was a batch we did just the other day. These started as 37 gallons of maple sap from our backyard. It’s a lot of time and work, but having all of this finished syrup is so worth it. It’s far better than store-bought “syrup” and it’s rewarding to make stuff from your own land.
“Despite feeling overwhelmed at how long it might take, and how hot it was outside, I set to work. ‘No more blue tarp!” I thought to myself. No more would I allow our property to be the laughingstock of the neighborhood. No more would we have to deal with the curmudgeonly wrath of Mary.”Read More
It seems it is unsettlingly normal in our culture to find wives making the material sacrifices to ensure the home operates well and the husband is out shopping for a gaming console. My eye’s rolled really hard just writing that.Read More
I found it very interesting that David French brings out this comparison, that Intersectionality is basically a religion. And they’re not without their zealots. The protests, lobbying, and activist rally’s of these Intersectional groups he refers to as “essentially, massive religious movements”. It’s simply a religion of a different kind.Read More
Musings about what “could be” outside of the Bible, sort of undermines the authority of the Bible. It could even cast doubt in the Christian’s mind like, “What else isn’t God telling us?” That’s how you end up with a Book of Mormon and a Charismatic movement with their “words from the Lord”.Read More
This is the third post in a series. You can read part 2 here.
For a boot to the head
I don’t ascribe to the notion that I am to trust the Lord for my protection and the protection of my family to the exclusion of making any preparations. Why? Because that logic is inconsistent. I’ve heard Christian men scorn others before for learning self-defense because they’re “just trusting God”. They say it with such a self-righteous tone that “snooty” would be too kind a word to describe it. It can be dangerous living life atop a “high horse”. I suggest they get off of it.
A Christian who thinks that way should also then not bother wearing a seatbelt, taking vitamins, exercising, saving money for a “rainy day”, or any other sensible way in which we try to be wise stewards of things. Bluntly, if a man saw his wife subjected to an attempted rape, don’t you think he’d want to be prepared to stop that? Or should he in that moment trust the Lord only? Perhaps he should both trust the Lord AND use whatever skills and resources he has to put a stop to it. Unless of course he thinks that it must then be God’s will for his wife to be raped. Then I’d say he’s lost his marbles. Christians sometimes succumb to “either/or” thinking, and yet many times Biblical truths are “both/and”. This case is the latter. Men can BOTH trust the Lord for protection AND develop defensive skills the Lord can then use in moments where there are threats to himself or those under his care.
Personally, I have trained in multiple combative disciplines including boxing, kickboxing, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and sometimes further weapons training when I can afford it. Do you need to do all that? No. But do something! Go bare-knuckle box a tree in your backyard (Just kidding. Don’t do that…unless you’re into that sort of thing). Learn a simple takedown and ground-control and practice it with a friend in your yard. Read a book on situational awareness. Get a CCW permit and defensive firearm classes. Know and understand the law regarding self-protection. Whatever, just prepare both mentally and physically with whatever means you have available to you. Why? Because preparation is wise and the Lord can use it. Honestly, you prepare for other scenarios. Why not prepare for protection? This is not paranoia. This is protection, preparedness, and wise stewardship of ones body and family.
As a man, I must protect in several ways: 1) To be a diligent steward of my family, of my own body, and any under my care, 2) To have balanced and sensible faith in the Lord for protection, and 3) To be prudent enough to prepare in advance for as many possible outcomes in my world. Considering these three things, I am forced to conclude that the Bible does not teach that I am to be a pacifist and allow someone to inflict death or grievous bodily harm upon me or those under my care. Instead, I am 1) Not to permit someone to harm my physical well-being or that of those under my care. 2) I am to trust the Lord to protect me, and this may include trusting Him to use effectively the physical and/or tactical skills He has enabled me with. And, 3) I am not to succumb to normalcy bias and presume I will never be the target of physical threats but am to advance my physical and/or tactical skills as I am able and as I am led in order to mitigate such. I also acknowledge that certain scenarios may someday exist in which I may be called upon to instead lay down my life for the example of Christ, and that I should have the discernment to recognize such moments. (See Psalm 127:3, Proverbs 22:3. Genesis 14:14-16, Matthew 24:43).
If you have even just a few maple trees, you can make your own real maple syrup. And if all your earliest memories of pancakes only include Aunt Jemima, then I might just have to insist you try this. Just don’t blog about it while you’re outside managing the process. My fingers are freezing. True story.Read More
We don’t need to be exuberant and fanatical about our rightness. Just be right. Just remain right. Speak up when you should. Be willing to accept looking like the loser of an argument even when you’re not. Be a man of principle, a man of conscience, and a man of conviction, a man who is confident and quiet and sees no need to be otherwise.Read More
Let me preface this by saying that this post talks about “Fundamentalists”. If you don’t know if I am one or not, read the post. It’s not that long. If you don’t care, well, read it anyway. I hear it’s good.Read More
Newport uses his data to make three things very clear.
1) Most people drastically underestimate their screen time usage.
2) Most people drastically overestimate how useful and necessary much technology really is.
3) Most people have created a new “normal” for themselves in which they are unaware just how much technology has hurt their ability to focus, be productive, and be creative.Read More
This is why we should stop romanticizing missions to young people who may not have good discernment. Ministry, no matter where it is, is hard work. When you get there, no one will recognize you for your efforts. No one will pat you on the back. No one will come beating down your door to sit at your feet like some kind of sage. More likely, you’ll spend much time feeling rejected, isolated, marginalized, uncertain of outcomes and all the while praying for the best, usually with tears.Read More
Temperance must then be a mutual cooperation be me and the Lord- I yield to the Lord’s revealed Word, and He helps me control myself. I then practice that self-control by forming good habits.Read More