April 10, 2011
Well the season is over. It has seen an excellent year at Fortune Farms with good quality syrup and ample supply. Now the washing up begins and it will take several days to back flush the lines and clean the equipment. Its a pleasant time of year to be in the sugar bush as the wildflowers are beginning to appear, the migrant birds are returning and there are no bugs until early May. One of the first flowers that appears is on a small bush called leatherwood The wood of this bush is extreme flexibility and its strong bark was woven into rope by the natives. It grows as part of the under story in sugar bushes and has a small delicate yellow flower.
Our camp will be open this week for syrup pick-up and after that by chance or by appointment.
April 8, 2011
After two days of warm weather with no frost at night we have had three ideal days for sap production. On Wednesday the sap began to run about 12.30 pm after a heavy frost and continued to run to about 6.30 pm. Over that period one of our sugar bushes averaged over 4 litres of sap per tap hole which for us is a very high production rate. We expect this weekend will be the end of the sugar season for this year as the weather forecast is for warmer weather, with no frost. Its the last chance to visit the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men in 2011.
April 3, 2011
Looks like a perfect day for a visit to the sugar bush. We have sap to boil, the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are operating and most of the snow has gone from the trails. Migrating birds continue to arrive. So far no bluebirds but they should be here this week. The geese are flying north and blackbirds are defending there territory in the marshes.
March 25, 2011
Weather continues to be too cold for sap. It may be Tuesday next week before there is another sap run. The Kettle Boys are in operation and we have a large outdoor fireplace for a warm up when walking the trails.We have syrup, maple butter, candy and maple tarts for sale and taffy-on-the-snow for a taste of spring.
March 23, 2011
Clear and too cold today for sap. This will give us a welcome pause from 12 days of steady boiling. The weekend looks favourable with sunny weather and mild weather.
A red shoulder hawk was heard in our Clayton sugar bush on Monday . These birds return each year about the 20th of March regardless of weather. We also have hawks at our Wolf Grove sugar bush but not yet seen this year. Red shouldered hawks are endangered and we are fortunate to have them in our sugar bushes.
Lots of sap yesterday and we did not get it all processed so we will be boiling today. Do to the snow and cool temperature we do expect much, if any, new sap today. It will give us a chance to catch up. We are now getting “sugar sand” in the sap which means the sap is coming from the deeper roots as the ground thaws. Sugar sand is precipitated minerals, mostly calcium, which we filter out of the syrup. So far we are having a very good maple sugar season.
We were pleasantly surprised with a sap run this afternoon. Temperature was not much above freezing but the trees really want to run. Tomorrow should be another good day. All our activities are under way and the trails are snowy but not too hard to walk with a pair of waterproof boots.
March 18, 2011
A busy day at the camp yesterday. Lots of sap to boil and syrup to pack. Due to the warmer and sunny weather lots of visitors enjoying a visit with the Kettle Boys. The birds are more active and the crows are calling as they realize spring is on its way.The first migrant robin appeared this morning
March 17, 2011
Very good sap run on Tuesday and more on Wednesday. Today also looks promising so we should be in operation. Store hours are from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily.
The Kettle Boys have decided to set up their operation starting on Wednesday and continue daily through the weekend.
March 15, 2011
Nothing is as uncertain as predicting when the sap will run. Although the temperature was not much above 3 degrees the sunshine warmed the tree tops and as a result we had a good run of sap in the afternoon. We expect more sap today as soon as the temperature rises above freezing. The camp is open and we have fresh syrup for sale and tasting.
March 14, 2011
We made a small quantity of syrup for the first time this season yesterday. The next sap run is expected to start on Tuesday and continue daily for the rest of the week. The maple season is off to a good. The camp will be open daily. The Kettle Boys and the Shanty men will be here next weekend .
March 13, 2011
We have collected a small quantity of sap and will be boiling today for the first time this season. Next weeks forecast looks favourable for sap production and we are hoping for a good run. The camp is open today.
The fresh snow that came this week will be good for the trees and will keep the woods cool even when the temperature goes above 10 degrees C. No sap yet but the current forecast of a warming trend next week looks promising.The camp will be open this weekend. We do not have any fresh syrup but we do have some maple butter and maple candy and some syrup in reserve for taffy-on-the-snow.
March 7, 2011
We are now finished tapping and waiting for the weather to warm up so we can make some syrup. We count the taps as we go and this year the number came to 7109 give or take a few. We are up a few taps from last year as we were able to tap some new trees that are now over 10 inches in diameter and large enough to tap. The sugar bush is slowly recovering from the ice storm in 1998 as these new trees fill in the spaces left by trees broken off or have died due to the severe damage to their crown.
February 21, 2011
We have completed about 70% of our tapping and will finish the job later this week. Based on the long range weather forecast we do not expect a sap run until next week at the earliest. Our weekend camp activities will not commence until we have made some syrup. We will keep you posted.
February 15, 2011
Preparations are underway for the new season. Tapping will begin the last week of February and we are hoping for the first run of sap by the 15th of March. It all depends on the weather.