March 19, 2023
Good morning everyone!
Quick update from the sugar house. A few items to take care of before we start the boiling. Farley and I spent over 5 hours out in the bush on Thursday, and the snow depth back there is average waist high. Even on snow shoes I broke through in a couple of places, so I have it on good authority. Farley went thru as well, and was really quite worn out at the end of the day. He spent Friday on the couch recovering. I followed his example. Looking ahead at the weather forecast, and things are looking up this week. Warmer temps and rain on Wednesday should bring the trees to life.
I will be heading out shortly to give the trees their spring pep talk (Jennifer claims my speech is “produce or perish”) but I don’t actually use those words.
We have some very serious deer trails through the bush this year, a couple I have nicknamed the 400 and the 401. Probably due to neighbors feeding them. So far, no pipeline damage from the deer. We did have 4 taps and drop lines with squirrel damage. But simple to replace. We have changed some of the gravity lines over to the vacuum system, and reduced some of the buckets we have used in the past as well. Snow depth will be a challenge to collect from those this year.
Good morning everyone!
The tapping has begun! There are all sorts of projects and jobs to do getting ready for the maple season. Tapping is just one. Over the past week I have been cleaning the sugar house and getting it ready for production. The evaporator is ready to go, all that is left now is to finish reconnecting plumbing from the main storage tank. I have been out breaking trails in the bush just so we can get out to check lines and tap the trees. There is over 30” of snow in the bush, and this year it is a much heavier wetter snow.
We use an atv on tracks to bring materials out with us when we are tapping, adding lines, replacing drop lines as necessary, and collecting sap. We will hang about 50 buckets this year in one section of bush that we haven’t run any mainline to, and part of that is nostalgia. One of our neighbors to the east has been feeding the deer all winter, and the trails they have developed are amazing. The network of paths are all over the place. Though, they do seem to be thankful that I am grooming the main trails. Thankfully as I have inspected the near lines so far, there is no damage from the deer or squirrels, but I have only opened up the first 1/3 of the trails.
By the end of this week I should have all the trails groomed and useable, the taps in place, lines checked, storage tanks cleaned, vacuum pump installed and tested. The trailer for the gathering tank is out of the snowbank and ready to roll, and the new trail up to the sugar house for delivering sap has been groomed and is ready. We are almost ready for our first boil.
Mother nature threw a curve ball at syrup producers with a very early warm up. I think we got our January thaw in February, and producers in the south started getting busy. Over the last few years we have noticed this pattern of a warm up or almost a false start in February then a freeze up, and a gradual thawing late March break. We do not panic about trying to get those first few drops of sap, but keep a calm purposeful approach (except for Farley, who is racing around the trails and checking which way the deer have gone). He is quite aware of what time of year it is, and knows that neighbors will be coming to visit and he takes his job of greeter very seriously.
Just a thought here, if you haven’t placed your order for this years syrup, it would be wise to get that in soon. We have noticed a trend this year with people doubling their orders from last year.