March 21, 2010
Finally cooling off after several days with hot strange weather, clear and beautiful but record-breaking with heat. The air was so dry, the sun had a searing glare to it. We wore hats and dark glasses and took a hike to Center Sandwich yesterday, 70 degrees.
Sap cannot run in this weather. Rudy emptied every tank and bucket on Thursday again. We'll wait a few days and see if the temperature drops enough for a second run. Weatherman predicts snow on Tuesday so perhaps it will get cool enough. But perhaps it won't.
March 13, 2010
Cold and windy today. No run. Heavy rain forecast for tomorrow. Maybe we'll have to read books. We'll hope for good weather next weekend so visitors can stop by the sugarhouse.
March 11, 2010
Brought the refractometer and the syrup grading set to the lab this morning. The refractometer measures sugar content. The syrup grading set contains 4 small bottles of calibrated syrup, each a slightly different color of syrup. The sugarmaker compares these to a tiny bottle of the day's syrup to decide whether the syrup is light, medium or dark Grade A or Grade B.
I am in school today. Just took the biogeo test. Not too horrible. Have to stay here for the seminar. Too bad, missing a gusher. But, being here, just walking across the campus, is so exciting, it's almost as good as being in the sugarhouse with Rudy.
I have been thinking about the trees needing their spring bath of water, a great hydration, complete suffusion, infusion, an ocean of water in the spring sap run.
March 10, 2010
Cold last night and up to 40 F today, a little too hot for a gusher but it's running. Teddy and I visited the North side buckets with the sled early this morning to empty the ice from Tree 812 and 811 so I could take samples this afternoon. It's gorgeous in the early morning light. The snow is still deep. Teddy ate the ice. I brought back the sap, concentrated by freezing, in the blue 5-gallon canisters, on the orange plastic sled. Smooth. It was so beautiful out, I stayed out and pruned one of the apple trees. Standing on three feet of snow made it easy. This afternoon, head spinning with biogeochemistry, I went around again and gathered samples. Rudy boiled but did not draw off anything. We made 5 gallons yesterday, the boiling of a week's dribble. We are now up to 20 gallons, far ahead of any other year. At Town Hall yesterday, other producers bemoaned the warm weather. They have just tapped. Not much run. Not much syrup. I think of the trees being infused, completely washed, cell for cell, by the spring gush of sap. A poor sap year means those cells may not be hydrated and washed as much as they need. I told my friend Betsy about this the other day when she came to help gather the buckets. The old steel bucket holds 2.5 gallons or so. A tree may give a gallon or even 2 on a really good day. But the tap only breaks into a few of the vertical xylem, the vessel elements that carry the water up the tree. A tree will loft a 100 or more gallons of water that same day, undetered by my theft. And those hundreds of gallons of water, sweetened to 2 or 3 or 4% water are infusing every cell, bud, twig and membrane with the stuff of life.