Maple Syrup 2015

It is Saturday,  March 7th and I was in the woods at first light tapping trees.  2 days ago on Thursday morning it was 3 degrees.  It got up to 40 today and it is supposed to be 50 on Wednesday.  For the sap to run it needs to be above 40 during the day and freeze at night.  If it doesn’t get above 40 or freeze at night the sap stops running.  My concern this year is they are predicting 4-5 days where it gets to 50 and does not freeze.  If that happens and the frost comes out of the ground, the trees will bud and syrup season is over.  I took Friday afternoon off to start tapping but the snow in the woods was over a foot deep in spots and my tractor  (one in  winter chore post) I haul the buckets, pans and other supplies back in could not get through.  We also have a John Deere compact diesel tractor that has 4 wheel drive, a front bucket and a back blade.  I spent the afternoon clearing a 1/4 mile lane through the woods.  I had wanted to hire a kid for the morning but could not get one to help so I had to drill the tap hole – I use a hand brace and bit – pound in the spile and hang the bucket.  We make syrup the old fashioned way as you can see from other posts.  I put out right around 100 taps spread across probably 10 acres of woods this morning.  It is tough carrying buckets, a bucket of spiles, a hammer and a bit and brace.  I’ll be sore tomorrow.  I bought some buckets at an auction this summer and they had covers.  I have not had covers which means when it rains I just dump the buckets.  I used a cover for a pattern and a friend gave me a bunch of scraps of metal roofing from a barn roof.  I was able to make 80 covers.  I did not get them put on today – that would have been just that much more to carry.  I went back after dinner and checked.  The sap has just started to flow.  Hopefully I will collect sap tomorrow.

The sap ran OK Saturday and Sunday then not so good Monday – Wednesday.  It is best not to let sap set so I boiled Thursday.  I had under 120 gallons so I got just under 3 gallons of syrup.  The sap flowed OK again Friday – Sunday and then started flowing like it should Tuesday.  I had around 200 gallons of sap so I boiled today – Thursday 3-19.  Beautiful day, 40s very little wind and I cut down 3 dead Elms and into 6 foot lengths.  That way I could get the wood all the way in my system.  Elm burns really hot so the boiling went quick.  I got around 5 gallons of syrup in just 1 hour more time than last Thursday.

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