Its started.  Season 99.

Buckets and spouts all washed during the off-season. 

We had a warmish winter because of El Nino.  We had some days below zero, but a lot days above normal and some even above freezing.  Not a lot of snow:  about half of normal totals.  Because of the warmer winter we expect an earlier season.    There is still frost in the ground in the woods, but not as deep as the past two seasons when we had very cold winters.  

Today’s forecast was upper 40s and sunny.  That’s maple weather.  We had a crew of 5 lined up to tap.  Started  tapping by 8:00 AM.  It goes fast with a big crew.  One drilling holes. Followed by another setting the tap and two more following the buckets and covers.  By 11:30 AM we had 400 taps out.  After luch we finised tapping by 2:00 PM.  500 taps.  That’s the most taps we’ve had in 30+ years. 

By 10:00 AM the sap was moving in the trees.  There were dripping fast after the spout was in.  Although a fresh tap will always run a lot because you are releasing the pressure.  The forecast is no freezing overnight so Sunday or Monday we may collect already.  Next week it turns colder again, so we want to pickup liquid when we have it.

Waiting to get our R/O membrane back from cleaning.  We sent it off mid-June.  We expected it back by Sept or Oct so it could ship without worry of freezing.   No such luck.  It arrived at our equipment dealer in mid-Jan, but we couldn’t ship it then because of the cold.  Neighbors are heading to the equipment dealer next week and will pickup the membrane for us.  We are so disappointed with the customer service of our R/O manufacturer.

Tractor troubles again.  Oh no!  The tractor started and ran fine since we had the electrical re-done two  years ago.    Even today it ran fine with several start/stops as we moved through the woods tapping.    After the second stop after lunch it would not start.  Not even turn over.  We thought it might be the starter because the lights worked demonstrating we had power.  One of the crew had a Jeep so we transfered bucket/covers to it to finish tapping.  This worked because of the low snow depth in the woods.   Cousin David stopped out after his work.  He is also a mechanic.  He  got his tools and came back to look at the tractor.   Methodically tested each part of path to start the tractor. Took out the started and battery to test back on the work bench.  Starter fine. Battery dead.   Charged the battery and returned to the tractor in the woods to re-assemble and test.   Tractor started right up.  But the question remains: why did the battery suddenly go dead?   This makes us nervous and we’ll need to monitor it during the season.