Sugaring Begins

This weekend we began our sugaring season.

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It is always a bit of a guess when to tap the maple trees. Sometimes we do so midway through February and get an early run of sap if there is a very warm day. Sometimes, like this year when temperatures stayed in the twenties, we wait a bit longer.

However, we decided it was time to begin no matter what the thermometer was saying when Snowdrops poked their heads up in the shelter of the Arbor Garden.

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I love how Spring (and Flowers) just won’t be stopped!

Besides the usual beloved trees down in the village of Meriden, we tapped a few very old maples at the farm where Elizabeth lives. These maples are in a hedgerow sloping down to a road. Because we were low on buckets and because of this nice downward slope, we decided to use tubing with all the taps flowing into one line with a big barrel at the bottom of the line collecting the sap.

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Sounded good anyways.

I am used to technology getting way ahead of me in here in the office, but I was surprised when yesterday the maple trees with buckets were flowing so well that a few of the buckets were full while over at our higher tech piped line, there was no sap in the big barrel at the bottom of the line.

There is something much more elegant about buckets on a maple tree, but perhaps these trees prefer buckets to piping for other reasons than this aesthetic one. I went over this morning to fiddle and fuss with the line and to generally tune in to the trees. After this visit, I have decided that the issue is not so much a problem with the tubing as a reflection of this new location. It’s too early to know for sure, but I think these new trees are in a colder micro-climate than the ones we tap in town. I sensed they will need a few more days of above ground temperatures before the up and down voyage of their sap begins.

Maple trees have their own wisdom and sometimes all it takes is a chill wind blowing across them to make them wait awhile longer. The next few weeks will tell the story and teach me a lot about this new set of maple trees. No matter what amound of sap we get from these trees, I am glad to have a reason to visit this beautiful spot and I am grateful for the owners of the land for their generosity.
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With fifty gallons of sap to boil down today, its time to begin the dance of March wherein I do a little work in the office then run out to stoke the fire then run back in to do a little work and so on and so forth. Sweet boiling sap. A Roaring Fire. Happiness!

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