Monday, April 15, 2013

Ice Storm and Maple Syrup Welcome Farm Stay 4

Today when I walked outside I heard a click-click-clicking. It was a sound like yesterday during the driving sleet, but there was a clear blue sky. Soon I figured out that the sound was the wind playing with all of the ice-covered branches in the forest. I looked at the snow blanket that still covers the forest floor and saw that many branches have fallen already. Yikes! It might not be a good morning for a leisurely stroll through the woods.

This weather has been awful. For people. But for maple sap to flow, it has been nearly perfect. On Thursday I checked the sap bags and most were only a quarter full. I was pretty confident that we could make it to Saturday before we collected again. Then on Friday afternoon Katie said that some of the bags were overflowing. We did not have time to collect Friday, so on Saturday first thing we went out and every bag was overflowing. We had missed a bunch of sap. We filled the barrels we use to collect sap. Then we ran out of room, with 30 taps left to collect. So we started filling every empty bucket we had. The we ran out of buckets with 7 trees to go. Oh well. We started boiling at about 10 am on Saturday. We boiled all day and night on Saturday - adding sap as it evaporated. Then on Sunday we kept boiling. We were hoping to finish before dark on Sunday, but mother nature intervened.

The snow started at about 11 am. By noon it was a driving blizzard. Then it switched to freezing rain and it was coming down accompanied by a powerful wind. It was hard to keep the fire going, and with the precipitation coming in it seemed we were barely keeping up. By 11 pm, when we stopped stoking the fire, we still had 40 gallons of sap to boil. This morning we fired it up, and we hope to complete the syrup with the arrival of the Farm Stay students today. Then we will go out and collect more sap and start over - cause there is probably another 200 gallons out there with more to flow today.

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