Maple Syrup: Nature's Spring Tonic. -- Since 1918

Category: 2018: Season 101 Page 1 of 6

Post Script: Blizzard Evelyn

We’ve been camped out at a hotel a block from the Green Bay airport the past three nights waiting out Blizzard Evelyn.  24” of snow.  Winds 25 mph to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph.  Yesterday afternoon from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM we had whiteout conditions.  Biggest snow event since 1888.  We love snow storms.  But when we say its bad, it is bad.


We knew the storm was coming so headed to the airport Friday evening when the weather was good and took a room at the hotel.  The flight was Saturday morning at 8:45 AM.   The forecast called for snow overnight but a lull in the morning so we expected the flight would go.  Snowed more than expected overnight and the flight was canceled along with all other flights out of Green Bay.   We got notified at 1:40 AM about the cancellation.  By 5:00 PM they closed the airport.


We were rescheduled for a Sunday morning flight but were not optimistic it would go because the second part of the snow storm was forecast for Saturday night into Sunday.  Got notice of the flight cancellation by 7:30 PM Saturday with no rescheduled flights.


Snow HotelThe weather got steadily worse Sunday.  By 2:00 PM, whiteout conditions with high winds and heavy snow.  By 4:00 PM whiteout conditions abated with some reduction in snow fall.  By 6:00 PM it was a normal snow storm again.  Overnight the storm weaken.  By Monday morning its just snow showers but an inch more is still possible.


Flight is now scheduled for 10:53 AM.  The weather should be okay for the flight but the airline has to have the equipment and personnel in place too.  Airlines depend on logistics and schedules and this weather wrecks those plans.   We expect to get back somehow today.

Another Finish In The Cold Rain

Into the woods by 9:00 AM to finish up.  Bring in all the utensil and milk cans.  Wash the floor with the remaining R/O water.  Bring in the tanks.  Disconnect the propane gas tank.  Final tasks: take down the clock and unplug the radio.  Back to the farmhouse by 11:00 AM ending the season.

But at 10:00 AM a cold rain started to fall.  Its a precursor to the snow storm coming this weekend.   The final hour of washing the floor and getting in tanks was done in the cold rain.  We’ve done that with regularity over the years.

36 overnight.  Cloudy and rainy today with cold wind.  Thermometer said 36.

It was a great season.  Good crop.  Well paced sap flows and cooking.  Our improvements helped make for an easier season.

We’ll be back here in February 2019.

All Pans Clean

Into the woods by 10:00 AM.  Task for the day was to get all the pans clean:  bottom of evaporator flue pan, finishing and bottling pan.    Finished that by 4:00 PM.

Rain overnight.  Getting the buckets in yesterday was the correct decision.   36 overnight.  Cloudy and upper 40s today but felt colder.  Cloudy and windy makes it colder.

Small stuff remains:  clean hoses, clean filter press, bring back all utensils, clean milk cans, clean the floor.  Should be able to finish tomorrow.

Rain and snow forecast the next three days.  6”-10” possible depending on the track of the storm.

Back to the farmhouse by 4:30 PM.

Evaporator Day

In the woods by 10:30 AM to clean the evaporator.  The front syrup pan is clean.  The inside of the flue pan is clean but still have to clean the bottom.   The ashes are sweep out of the firebox.

At 5:00 PM we returned to the farmhouse  to collect and stack the buckets in the garage for storage.  The buckets were outside, upside down the dry out.  Rain is forecast for this evening so wanted to get the buckets in while they were dry.

35 overnight.  Sunny and upper 40s during the day.  Clouds moved in after 5:00 PM.

Back to the farmhouse by 6:15 PM.

101 Gallons For Season 101

Into the woods by 7:30 AM to dump the last milk can into the finishing pan.  It was ready by 9:00 AM.  By 10:00 AM we were done bottling and totaled up the results:  23 quarts and 1 pint.  That gave us 101 gallons for the season.  Our 101st season. And nice syrup too.  Grade A Dark, Robust Flavor.  In 2013 we made 102 gallons, but the sap was quite sweet that season.

This afternoon we filled the evaporator with water and lit the fire.  After it was boiling we added the cleaning solution.  It will sit overnight then tomorrow we clean the evaporator.

The R/O is now back at the farmhouse too.

26 overnight.  Sunny this morning and up to 45.  Clouds this afternoon.

Back to the farmhouse by 4:30 PM.

An Early March Day

Into the woods by 10:30 AM to start cooking down the remaining sap, about 15 gals, on the propane burner.   Took time.  The evaporator is more efficient.  It was ready by 5:15 PM when it reached 29° Baumé.   Looks like this batch will be 6 ½ to 7 gals.  That will put us over 100 gals for the season.  We will finish and bottle tomorrow.

Also drained and broke down the R/O.   The membrane is already back at the farmhouse in its storage solution.  The R/O comes back tomorrow.

25 overnight.  Sunny and mid 40s today.  The type of day expected in early March.

Tomorrow we have to get water, cleaning solution and a fire under the evaporator.  Then on Wednesday we can clean it.

Back to the farmhouse by 5:30 PM.

Bucket Day

Into the woods by 10:30 AM.  The task for the day: all the taps out, all the buckets back to the farmhouse.  By 2:30 PM all the spouts were out and the buckets/covers gathered  to various points close to the trails for pickup.    Hopped on the utility vehicle to pickup the buckets/covers and bring them to the farmhouse.  Arranged the buckets, upside down, in 10 rows by 10 columns so we could get an accurate count.   We had 511 taps out.  Adjusted our “Season @ A Glance” widget from 507 to 511.

6 overnight.  Record cold for April 7.  Sunny and mid 30s during the day.  Some trees still dripping.  There was approx 100 gallons of sap we dumped.  It was mostly ice because at 6 sap does not stay liquid.   Quite possible that producers on vacuum will have additional sap runs.  If we had more time we may have let the buckets out.  Forecast for the week has freeze/thaw cycles.  And frost is still in the ground.

Back to the farmhouse by 6:30 PM.

Planning Cleanup Around the Cold

Into the woods by 8:30 AM to start the burner on the finishing pan.   Bottled at 10:30 AM.  Then we finished and bottled a second milk can at 3:00 PM.

Also started the evaporator to boil down the remaining sap at 8:45 AM.   Took off one batch.   Then let the fire simmer in the afternoon.   Because its getting cold tonight again, we needed to empty the evaporator. Any sap in it would freeze and there is not enough left to start a fire to melt it.   After bottling the second batch we worked on emptying the evaporator.   Got all the sap into 1 ½ milk cans:  approximately 15 gallons to finish.   Took off the pans to rinse and drain.  The evaporator is empty now.  Once we get some warmer weather we need to fill it with water and cleaning solution, the restart a fire to warm it.  Planning cleanup around cold weather is a new step for us.

12 overnight.  Sunny and cold all day.  The sun was warm enough to cause melting but the temperature barely rose above 32.

Back to the farmhouse by 6:00 PM.

Pulling Taps In The Snow

Yup, it was absurd today pulling taps while it snowed.

28-30 overnight.  We got about 2” of snow after 2:00 AM.   During the day we continued to get snow squalls with heavy snow.  Got an additional inch.  This afternoon’s squalls were particularly heavy while we pulled taps.  It was absurd pulling taps in the snow.  Don’t recall ever doing that.  There is more snow in the woods now when we pulled the taps then when we put out the taps the end of February.

The next five days the forecast is for temperatures about 20 degrees below normal.  Tonight’s forecast is 14.

Into the woods at 1:00 PM to begin pulling taps.  All the taps to the west of the building are down, about 1/3 of the total.  Picked up 25 gallons of sap along the way.  There was small run.  The 7/16 stainless steel spouts were still running while the 5/16 were mostly dry.  Also started a second wash of the R/O.  Wash tank looked clean this morning.  This second wash should be enough.  Then we break it down and bring it back to the farmhouse.

After 3:00 PM the sky cleared and the sun came out.  Back to the farmhouse by 5:00 PM.

Closing Down

22 overnight. Sunny low 30s most of the day, but warmed to 40 late afternoon.  The sun is warm and melting the snow already.

Started a wash cycle on the R/O.  We are closing down the season.  Also hard to admit that its time, but it is.  We have a week to cleanup.

Snow still forecast for tonight.  Up to 1”.

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