Its 4 pm, the sun is shining with little wind so the temperature has risen to 7 degrees, well above the forecast. The sap is running and there will be enough to supply the Kettle Boys , the Shanty Men and some for the big evaporator. Everything will be in operation tomorrow.
In my last blog I wrote about pipeline damage. We have just completed a patrol of the system and found some loose spiles due to frost action but no new animal chews or woodpecker holes. For two years we used a new type of spile which has a small plastic ball which acts as a check valve permitting sap to flow out but preventing sap from flowing back into the tree. When the tree cools down at night the gas in the tree contracts producing a negative pressure inside the tree. Sap in the pipeline will have been exposed to air and contains bacteria which starts the tap hole closure process.The check valve blocks this sap from entering the tap hole extending the life of the tap hole and helping to produce more sap. We were not convinced they were worth the extra cost. Also, something attracted woodpeckers to attack these spiles. Evidently the little ball in the spile makes a rattling sound similar to a wood boring grub, the natural food of the woodpecker. So the woodpecker made a hole in the hard plastic of the spile to find the grub. They damaged many of the spiles before giving up. The damaged spiles had to be replaced which required a lot of extra work.We can’t blame the woodpeckers but they seem to be slow learners.
This is the time of year the red shouldered hawks return but so far no sightings. Possibly if you walk our trails you may see this bird or hear them calling. The trails are snowy but useable and a walk is a good way to build up an appetite for some taffy on the snow. We are open 10 to 5 daily.