Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tap Tap

I've been waiting for the weather to turn into syrup making weather: where the days are consistently above 40 degrees and the nights are below freezing.  So far, we haven't had that happen more than two or three days in a row, then we are right back to highs below freezing and night-time lows downright frigid.  The sap doesn't run when it's that cold.  And the holes bored into the maple trees only stay good for about six weeks before they heal over to the point where sap no longer comes out.  So you don't want to tap too early, before the weather stabilizes for a good sap flow.

Being that the spring equinox has arrived, and that in past years, I was always tapping by the second week of March, and that we had three days of roughly 40-ish weather in the forecast, I went ahead and tapped maple trees in the woods.

The field is in the process of thawing, and not navigable by tractor currently, so I had to carry everything out by hand, and get myself there on foot, but I did it.

not enough snow for snowmobiling, 
and too soft underneath for the tractor

 Milk jugs are once again suspended from tree trunks at this little place here.

plenty of snow in the woods still, 
I was walking on about 8-10" of snowpack to get to the maples

Now we just need some nice sunny, warm days, and the sap will run well.  The jugs will fill up.  And I will haul sap in 5-gallon buckets through the field (most likely on foot) back to the house, where the turkey fryer-cum-sap boiler will be set up in the garage.  Each 5-gallon bucket of sap weighs about forty pounds, making sap hauling a good workout.

I fear it is going to be a short sap run this year.  The sap is only good for making syrup until the buds break open on the maple trees, usually by mid-April.  Maybe this year's colder weather will delay bud-break.  Or maybe it won't.  The trees are responding to the increased amount of daylight, and not just the temperatures.  Otherwise the buds would still be as tiny as they were in February, when we also had daytime highs in the twenties and thirties, and nights cold.  Like now.  Tomorrow's high temp is supposed to be 27 degrees.  Monday's 31.  But on Tuesday, well, things warm up again and sap should run.  And by next weekend, we might hit 60.  Hitting 60 will definitely open those buds.

It will be interesting to see how much sap I end up with.  I have plenty of syrup down in the cellar to get us through another year.  I would like to try my hand at making maple sugar, though, and had planned on experimenting with this year's sap run for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment