Finally the weather is springlike and the real maple season will begin. Making syrup in February is not normal but it seems that with global warming we will have to adjust.
After a break of several days due to the cold weather, as we have just experienced, we will have to do a pipeline patrol for leaks. Pipelines are a very effective means of collecting sap but they do require continual maintenance. We have damage from fallen trees and limbs particularly after an ice storm. There is often damage by wildlife including of course squirrels and chipmunks but also some unusual ones as well. Bears when they come out hibernation are very hungry and often bite the pipelines as they travel through the sugar bush. Their bite marks are very large and distinctive. Not so large but equally damaging are holes made by woodpeckers. We don’t know why they attack pipelines but occasionally we find holes in a localized area of the woods. Other producers have reported similar problems. We have some chews by deer, usually where a small tube crosses a deer trail. Also chews by porcupines as they climb up and down maple trees. For the first time this year we were able to identify a bite by a coyote. Its track was obvious in fresh snow and it bit three tubes as it traveled through the woods.There may be bites by other animals we have yet to identify but this is enough to keep us busy. Where serious damage occurs primarily from squirrels producers have tried coating the tubes with pepper or other unpleasant tasting material on even wrapping the tubes with fine wire.Fortunately animal damage is usually sporadic and we can cope with regular maintenance.
The weekend looks promising with cool weather but lots of sunshine. We will be open as usual and all our activities will be active. There is no charge for a visit to our operation and our trails and a taste of fresh maple syrup and taffy is readily available. We are open from 10:00 to 5:00 daily.