April 17, 2013
The syrup production season is over for another year. There are still some trees in the colder part of the sugar bush producing sap but the buds are beginning to swell and the syrup now has an off flavour. We call it buddy syrup. There is still the washing up to do which takes a couple of weeks to backflush all the lines. Our camp is open daily from 10 to 5 up to April 22 . Thereafter by phonecall or by chance, as we are often working at the camp. It was a very long but above average season with good quality syrup. We are already looking forward to next year.
April 14, 2013
The clouds are clearing and it promises to be a nice day at the sugar bush. Last chance to visit the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men this year.
April 13, 2013
The storm was not as severe as some forecasters predicted. We received about 5cm of ice pellets and then rain. Still cloudy today but warming quickly. We are expecting a run of sap later today. Our camp is open and the Kettle Boys are setting up for their final session this year.
April 10, 2013
As expected the sap ran well during the weekend but slowed and finally stopped as the weather warmed. However, the warmer weather enticed some of our resident migratory birds to return. The robins are here in force and yesterday a phoebe was singing to claim its territory and a bluebird was sitting on the nest box. With frost last night there may be sap today but we are to expecting a significant snow storm on Friday. There will be another run of sap after the snow storm and then the season will be over. The Kettle Boys will be here on the weekend, weather permitting, and our camp will be open.
April 6, 2013
As expected the sap ran very well on Thursday and continued on Friday With frost last night there should be a good run of sap today. It is shaping up as a good year for maple syrup production. Most of the syrup so far has been light, medium or light amber. We are still waiting for the dark amber which some people prefer. Syrup colour and flavour is dependent on the quality of the sap so we are at the whim of nature. Warmer weather usually produces darker syrup. The Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are firing up this morning as I write this note and the sun is shining so it looks like another good day to visit the sugar bush. We have lots of syrup available and most orders have been set aside. We also have maple tarts, maple butter, candy and fudge and of course taffy-on- the-snow.
April 2, 2013
We are having a welcome break in syrup production as the weather has turned cold until Thursday. We should have another good run of sap as the cold weather will recharge the trees. Our camp is open daily from 10.00 to 5.00 for syrup pickup.
March 31, 2013
It is sunny this morning and another nice day. There was frost last night so there should also be a run of sap today. The red shouldered hawks are back in the sugar bush. They arrive each about the end of March and they are right on schedule. We made a small quantity of amber syrup yesterday so we now have all grades of syrup for sale.
March 30, 2013
It looks like a beautiful day for a visit to the sugar bush. The sap should run well today as we had a good frost last night. All our activities are in full swing and we are open from 10.00 to 5.00. There are still several inches of snow on the trails so good footwear is necessary for a walk in the woods.
March 27, 2013
Perfect weather for syrup production. Sap is running steadily with warm days and cold nights. The snow is melting very slowly and will not really thaw until we get some rain. The syrup we are producing is still light in colour with good flavour. the darker syrup should come as the weather warms. Easter weekend looks very promising and will will be open every day.
March 24, 2013
A good run of sap today and still running into the evening. Lots of visitors at the camp today enjoying some taffy-on-the-snow and a taste of fresh syrup. Tomorrow and for the rest of the week the weather looks promising, so the maple season is now in full swing.
March 24, 2013
A nice run of sap yesterday and into the evening. We will be boiling today and expect another run of sap later in the day as the temperature rises. All our activities will be in full swing today.
March 22, 2013
Its been a week of cold weather and no sap. However, the forecast for the weekend and next week looks very promising. It will be a pleasure to get some warmer weather. Our remote pump houses are equipped with heaters and will withstand -15 degrees Celsius but not -20. So we have had some problems with frozen pumps this week. They are now repaired and ready to go. Our camp will be open from 10am to 5pm and the Kettle Boys will be here this weekend. Sunday morning March 24 from 8.00 to 12.00 is pancake and maple syrup breakfast at Union Hall on Wolf Grove Road one and one half kilometers east of Fortune Farms.
March 16, 2013
What a difference a year makes. Last year our season was over and we were wearing summer clothes. This year our season is still in start-up mode and we are wearing our winter coats. Our camp is open today, the Kettle Boys are making syrup with some stored sap and our warm up fire for will be going.The trails are snowy but hard packed and easy walking. A good day for a walk in the maple bush and a taste of fresh syrup.
March 14, 2013
Well winter has returned. Not much sap on Tuesday but a big run yesterday so we have been busy making syrup. The weekend looks cold but we will be open and will have a wood fire on out trail for a warm up. We now have all the grades of syrup available as well as fresh candy, maple butter, maple tarts and possibly maple fudge
March 11, 2013
Sap did not run yesterday as expected and it is not running today. This often happens. The sap will not run when conditions look favourable and then very hard when least expected. Visitors are enjoying a taste of fresh syrup, taffy-on-the-snow and a walk on our trails
March 10, 2013
Another nice day. It may cloud over later and with a low pressure system moving in we should have a good run pf sap. We have a fresh supply of maple tarts and all the other maple products available.
March 9, 2013
A perfect today in the sugar bush.We had a good run of sap yesterday and expect more today. Sap sweetness has been increasing and is now running 3%. This may be due to the sunny summer followed by cold winter. Shanty Men and Kettle Boys are here today and tomorrow and the Kettle Boys plan to be here on March 16 during school break.
March 7, 2013
A nice run of sap yesterday and today. We now have extra light syrup for sale along with candy
and maple butter. Weather looks very good through the weekend so we will be in full operation.
March 5, 2013
The weather is warming up this week and we expect the first significant run of sap. The Kettle boys and Shanty Men will be here this weekend to provide their usual entertainment and we hope to have some fresh syrup.
February 27, 2013
We received about 28 cm or 11 inches of wet heavy snow. Very pretty on the trees but difficult to clear all the driveways. Our camp will be open on the weekend March 2 and March 3. We have first-run extra light syrup, maple candy and maple butter for sale. We will have taffy on the snow and the Shanty Men expect to be boiling with small wood fired evaporator. The trails are very snowy and snow shoes are necessary. The Kettle boys will not be here until next weekend.
February 26, 2013
The sap ran on the 25th and again today. Enough to operate all the equipment and make a small quantity of syrup. Sap sweetness is 2.4% which is average for our sugar bush. We were not sure after the dry summer what the sugar content would be and we are pleased with this result. Sometimes the sugar content will be over 3%. Sap sweetness from large sugar maples growing in the open with large crowns may be as high as 7%. Finished syrup has a sugar content of 66 to 68% so there is a lot of boiling even for sweet sap.We are expecting a big snowstorm tomorrow and colder weather for several days.
February 24, 2013
The tapping is done and we are now waiting for some warmer weather to start the sap flow. There may be a small run of sap this coming week. We will not open the camp until we have some fresh syrup. On March 2 the annual “Tapping-out Party” for the Lanark area is being held at Thompsontown sugar bush. See their web site for details. For those people near Almonte who read the Humm newspaper, the March issue will feature a story on Fortune Farms.
February 17, 2013
We are enjoying a sunny but chilly weekend. It is perfect weather for tapping and we are well advanced with this process and expect to finish on Monday. We are able to tap earlier than in previous years as we are using a new type spile with a check valve. This check valve acts as a seal and helps to reduce the bacteria inside the tap hole which in turn delays the normal healing process of the tap hole. The long range forcast is for cool weather until at least the first week of March. Maybe we will have a “normal’ spring. Our camp is not open yet as we have no sap to boil and no fresh syrup. This is the last weekend for Winterlude.
February 2, 2013
The sun is shining here at Fortune Farms so the groundhog returned to his burrow and we should have six more weeks of winter. The Farmers Almanac also predicts a cool spring. So maybe we will have a more normal maple season this year. Winterlude opened in Ottawa yesterday and the canal is open for skating. The Kettle Boys as they have for many years, have set up shop at Confederation Park and are entertaining visitors with their fun and games. The Temples are selling toffee-on-the-snow so if you want an early start to the maple season drop in to Winterlude.
January 25 2013
With minus 20 degrees it does not feel much like maple sugar season. But it is just around the corner and we are busy making preparations. The first step is tapping and we will be starting in early in February. Last year we made syrup on February 24th. In view if the colder weather this year, we are hoping for a more normal start around the first week of March. This is our fortieth year of operation and we hope that it will be our best yet.