W.A. Coolidge Company is a full service construction company serving the Seacoast of New Hampshire, Maine, and Northern Massachusetts. The owners, Wayne A. Coolidge and Wendy A. Wentworth Coolidge have been partners for over 30 years. We specialize in high quality residential and commercial building, renovations, and restorations.
The Coolidge Company is about flexibility, innovation, and results. Our company will focus on your precise wishes in order to deliver cost-effective solutions to any project. We strive to offer superior quality by using and overseeing the best and reliable subcontractors and suppliers in the area. We believe that every project that we undertake will be completed within a timely fashion as if it was our personal home. We offer first class craftsmanship and attention to detail from start to finish. We want to make your dream project a reality along with providing a fun and memorable experience.
Spruce up your curb appeal with a hardscape entryway.
Written by: Wayne Coolidge
My daughter Melissa, and her husband, Derek, have been making maple syrup for a few years. Because we enjoyed it so much on pancakes while visiting, and at their insistence that it is easy to make, Wendy and I decided to give it a try, so we bought a ‘starter kit’ for $60.
Last year, during the first weekend of March, Melissa and Derek visited us and showed us how to tap maple trees. After drilling the first hole, even without having time to clean out the wood shavings, sap was already pouring out of the tree. As they demonstrated how to hang the bucket and lid, sap was already beginning to fill the bottom of the bucket. Wow! That was easy.
After one week, we had collected over 15 gallons of sap, and we were ready to begin the boiling process. Melissa and Derek have a wood stove that they modified with a stainless-steel pan for boiling. We didn’t have a set up like that available, but we did have a large lobster pot and propane burner.
Weekend 1 - Early in the morning, we set up our operation on the side deck, hooked up a $20 bottle of propane, and began the boiling process. It took a long time for the sap to boil down, but we enjoyed our morning coffee, chatting, relaxing, an afternoon beer, catching up on reading, and suntanning. All the while enjoying the smell of the sweet aroma of the sap as it boiled down to pure organic maple syrup. By the time the sun started to set, we had boiled about 8 gallons of sap.
The following morning, we swapped out the empty bottle of propane for another $20 full one and began the process again. We boiled the remaining 7 gallons, again enjoying a relaxing day on the deck savoring the sweet smell of maple. At the end of the day, we had produced enough maple syrup to fill 4, 8 oz. mason jars. The maple syrup was a beautiful golden color. I then realized why enthusiasts called the maple syrup, Liquid Gold.
Weekend 2 - More of the same; chillaxin’ in the sunshine and enjoying the smell of the maple boiling. Over the course of those two days, we boiled another 15 gallons of sap and produced 4 more small mason jars of maple syrup. This time we noticed the maple syrup was a darker color than the previous weekends’ Liquid Gold. We researched and found out that the tree produces a darker sap each week as the season winds down. We were learning. As much fun as we were having though, we wanted a bigger yield of syrup after spending an entire weekend dedicated to it. After more research, we found that an evaporator would speed up the process. So, we purchased an electric unit for $160. We also made some other purchases to assist in fine tuning our final product. We bought more taps and filter cloths ($50), a skimmer ($15), a hydrometer and filler tube ($55), and some storage buckets ($60). This was turning into a professional operation.
Weekend 3 – We were excited to use the new evaporator, and quickly discovered that if we preheated the sap in the evaporator to 212 degrees, then added it to the boiling pot, we never lost the rolling boil. We cooked 22 gallons of sap that weekend and produced 8 mason jars of product. Well worth the new purchase. We were learning how to streamline our time, but still spent another $40 on propane for the weekend. Again, we noticed the syrup was even darker than the previous batch.
Weekend 4 – Collection of sap began slowing down, as we now know was evidenced by the syrup color. We had less sap to start with, but enough for 5 more jars of maple syrup. Not bad for our rookie season.
While sitting down and enjoying our organic, homemade, maple syrup, I wondered what this syrup cost us. Knowing that an expensive maple syrup is $40 a quart, I did some math.
Equipment, accessories, and propane cost us $560. We produced 21 jars of syrup, which was 5.25 quarts. Dividing that out, means it cost us over $106 per quart. That’s without labor!!
OMG – now I know why it is really called LIQUID GOLD!
View our entire spring newsletter here!
Hidden Treasure: Renovation Project
You never know what you will discover hidden under a ceiling, floor, or in a wall during construction. Like this home, imagine how delighted the owners were to find beautiful beams hidden in the ceiling, which we incorporated into the new ceiling!
Tip of the Month: May
Use tongs to clean your blinds. Cleaning blinds can prove to be a time consuming and tedious task. Next time, try using a pair of tongs to help speed things up. Depending on the size of your blinds, you can either use two microfiber cloths or sponges. Use rubber bands to secure them to both sides of the tongs and you are ready to clean! If using sponges, you can simply dip them in warm water, or for either method, use a cleaning agent.