Collected 270 gallons of sap today. It tested 3 on the Brix scale for sugar content. It was little cold over night, but it warmed up enough to run. The next few days are forecast to have freezing nights and warm days so we should get more sap yet. Bottled about 15 quarts today. That puts us over 100 quarts (25 gallons.) We kind of expect one or two major runs yet. We typically have a run where were get 500 gallons to 600 gallons over two days followed by a few more 200 gallon days. We’ll see what happens.
Category: 2006: Season 89 Page 2 of 3
Got an unexpected run of sap. There was a cold north wind and no sun, but the trees ran well yesterday. Ended up collecting 400 gallons of sap. Sunny days, freezing night? Well, its March and the trees do what they want. Boiled until 9:00 pm last night. Then back over at 3:30 am to boil more and hopefully finish off the batch. Its forecast to get down to 10 degrees tonight so the sap will freeze if left in the tank. Bottled 24 quarts just today for a total of about 90 quarts, 22 1/2 gallons of finished syrup now.
Getting some snow flurries now. We had thunder over an open woods last week so this is expected. Its been a bit too cold this week for sap so its been a quiet week. Over the weekend its forecast to warm up a bit. We are experimenting with plastic jugs for syrup this year. Sometimes people want syrup, but they are concerned about the glass bottle breaking. A broken bottle of syrup is a very sticky mess so this could be a good alternative.
Waiting for the weather to change now. It did get colder which is good. We need freezing nights and sunny days. But its too cold right now; still below freezing. March is such an unpredictable month for weather. Later in the week its forecast to get sunny days and freezing nights.
Started the evaporator early, about 5:00 am. We wanted to get all the sap boiled through. We finished and bottled 22 quarts for the day. Our total is now 51 quarts or about 12 gallons. That is a nice first week.
Had a thunderstorm overnight. It seemed to be more lightening and thunder than rain. But the old saying is “thunder over an open woods means more snow yet.” An “open woods” means no leaves are out yet. With the warm temperatures the snow in the woods has been melting fast. On Monday when we tapped there was about 12″ of snow in the woods. Now there is hardly any left.
Saturday started out sunny. It froze overnight. We were hopeful for sap. It ran some. We did make plans to collect later in the day. But there really wasn’t much to do while waiting. We were caught up other work. About 3:00 pm help came and we set out to collect. We brought in 275 gallons of sap. Started the evaporator. About 6:30 pm we drew off a batch of syrup from the evaporator. Put in the gas fired finishing pan. It was 9 quarts and 1 pint. We did not stay late to boil all the sap. We plan to come on Sunday to complete this run.
Sunny today, but no sap. It did not freeze last night. It got up to about 45 today. We did get some very light rain. Rain had been forecast since Tuesday; it finally arrived. By 10:00 pm last night all the sap was in the evaporator. We did bottle another batch about 6:30 last night. This batch was three gallons so we now have five gallons total. This first syrup is some of the nicest we have seen in years. We got lucky tapping early and got this early run. Other producers are tapping today and missed it. Without fresh sap we spent the day doing a little cleaning and other chores. The back pan on the evaporator needed cleaning out. And the collecting tank needed blocking to hold it in place. A good day to catch up.
Started the evaporator at 6:00 am. By 1:15 we had our first syrup bottled. Two gallons. It is nice light colored syrup and had a very nice flavor. We will likely bottle more today yet as we are trying to boil through all the sap we collected yesterday. The faster it is boiled through the better the syrup. The sap collected yesterday tested at 3 on the Brix scale. This means it is sweater than “normal” as 2.0-2.2 is normal. Also collected 50 more gallons of sap from the trees tapped yesterday. Some were 3/4 full. We hope to finish up by about 9:00 pm tonight.
Started the days work by finishing up tapping. We had 50 taps to put out yet. And these were some of best running trees. We put our largest buckets, 16 quarts, on these trees. It did not freeze last night. The taps we put out on Monday and Tuesday ran all night. As we walked around the woods we could see we needed to collect. So we called for help and then got the collecting tank cleaned and setup. About 2:00 pm we headed out to collect. Some buckets were full. Most were at least half full. By the time we finished we had 300 gallons of sap. Not bad for the first collection of the season. We had a little trouble with a valve on the storage tank. It would not seal. We ended up taking it apart to fix it. A leaky valve would cause us to loose a great deal of sap. We did not get any rain yet. Now its forecast to come in tonight. And its not supposed to freeze either. Tomorrow we will get the evaporator cleaned and setup and start boiling the sap to make our first syrup of the season.
The day started out cold, but sunny. It was down to 10 degrees last night. There was a special type of frost called “hoar frost” on the trees in the morning. Hoar frost is caused when water goes directly from gas to solid without the liquid stage in-between. It can be very pretty as it covers everything in a white fluffy coating. But with a little sun it quickly melts.
About 10:00 we started tapping again. It warmed up and by 11:00 the trees were dripping. By the end of the day we had put out 225 more taps for a total now of 350. Tomorrow we plan to put out the remaining 50.
We also had a delivery of bottles that we use for the finished syrup. A semi truck delivered them about 11:15.
Rain is forecast for tonight and maybe Thursday. March is an unpredictable month for weather.