Current Season Updates 2015

April 22, 2015

In spite of the wet weather we are still working on flushing the lines and trying to finish before any blackflies appear.

The camp is open this week and on the weekend. It will not be open next week except by appointment or by chance if we are at the camp. The maple tarts are gone for this year but we still have some maple syrup, maple candy, maple butter, maple sugar and maple vinegar.

April 19, 2015

Beautiful but cool morning. The camp is open for syrup pickup and we still have some maple tarts and maple candy. Try a sip of maple vinegar which is a new product for us this year.
Washing up is now underway and the lines are being flushed. So the season is over but it seems the work is never finished.

April 17, 2015

The season is now over. The syrup yesterday had a prebud flavour so we stopped boiling. It has turned out to be an average season in spite of the late start. We now  begin the cleaning up phase which means washing all the equipment and flushing the pipe lines.We hope to finish before the black  flies  appear.  The  camp  is  open  this  weekend  as usual.

Today we heard the red shouldered hawk. So they are back. Later this year than usual but maybe we just did not hear them.

April 16, 2015

There was frost last night so we expect one more day of sap. The syrup is dark amber but still no hint of prebud flavour as the trees are still dormant. As soon as the buds swell the syrup takes on an unpleasant flavour called buddy and the season is over even if the sap flows.
It should be a very pleasant day at the sugar bush as soon as it warms up a bit.

April 15, 2015

The sap is still running a bit but this may be our last day of production. We now have enough amber to fill all our back orders so we are finally caught up on all our orders. In spite of our concerns about the season it is turning out to be an average year.
The first bluebirds appeared this morning and are already busy nest building. A very welcome sight. .

April 13, 2015

We finally made some amber syrup and are busy filling back orders. It will be a challenge to fill all our orders but there is still frost in the ground in the sugar bush and the sap may continue to run in spite of the very warm weather. The camp is open as usual from 10 t0 5 each day.

April 12, 2015

Looks like the season is rapidly coming to a close due to the warm weather. However there was some frost last night so there should be some sap today.This will be the last weekend for the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men but our camp will be open as usual.
The first migratory robin appeared here yesterday and we heard a saw whet owl “the sugar bird” at our Clayton sugar bush. No sign of the red shouldered hawks as yet this year which is unusual and disappointing.

April 11, 2015

Once again the sap ran all night and we have a backlog of sap. Our production is building up and we are 2/3 or more towards an average season. The sap sugar content has averaged about 3% which is very good for our sugar bush. There are also a lot of dissolved minerals, mostly calcium, in the sap which precipitates out in the syrup. This helps produce a good quality syrup. Both conditions may be due to the long cold winter.
All our activities are in full swing today and tomorrow and it looks like a warm and pleasant weekend.

April 10, 2015

This morning the sap tanks are full as ether sap ran all night. So we will be busy again today. The weather next week may be too warm for sap and the season will be winding down. This is likely to be the last weekend for the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men but our main camp will be open through  April.

April 9, 2015

As predicted yesterday was a good day for sap but not as much as April 7 so we got caught up on our processing. Not very cold last night but a small snow fall will help recharge the trees for another run of sap. So far no amber syrup but this should change as the weather warms this weekend.

April 8, 2015

Yesterday was our best day yet. Not a record but very welcome after our slow start. Not as warm today so not so much sap. All equipment is working well, so no incidents to report. I hope it continues.

April 7, 2015

It promises to be a very good sap day. We had a good frost last night and temperature today should be plus  6. It will be a busy day at the sugar bush.

April 6, 2015

In spite of the rather cool weather the sap ran very hard yesterday and we had our best run yet. In most years the first week of April is the best week for syrup making in this area and this year seems to be shaping up the same way. Very little amber syrup so far but it will probably come later this  week. Our camp is open as usual but the other activities are not operating until next weekend.

April 5, 2015

It was warmer yesterday than forecast which made for a very pleasant day at the sugar bush. Looks like today will be equally pleasant. Lots of visitors yesterday so we were up early to replenish our stock of maple butter. Alexander George our young fiddler entertained yesterday and plans to return this afternoon. We may be boiling in the late afternoon if the sap runs as it did yesterday. All our activities are operating and we have fresh syrup to taste.  A new product this year is maple vinegar  which is made with pure maple syrup and has a  nice  maple  flavour. Try a sip. 

April 4, 2015

Quite a change from yesterday with 2 to 3 centimeters of fresh snow. However the sun is peeking through and it promises to be a nice but cool spring day. There may not be any fresh sap today but we have enough from last evening for a short boiling session later today. Waterproof footwear will be necessary if you wish to visit the Shanty Men and Kettle Boys. We will have a warm up fire and fiddle music this afternoon to celebrate Maple Weekend.

April 3, 2015

What a beautiful morning. The sun is shining, its warming up nicely and the sap is running. After the slow start this year we finally seem to be experiencing a more normal spring. Our camp is open,  all our activities are operating and we have fresh syrup for sale.

April 2, 2015

We had a small run of sap yesterday and we expect things will pick up later today and tomorrow as a warm front moves through this area. We are gearing up for a busy weekend and all our activities will be in full swing. On Saturday and Sunday we have a fiddler coming to provide some special entertainment.

March31, 2015

Well March ended like a lamb and I hope this is an indication of things to come. We made a small amount of syrup on Monday and there was a small run of sap late today. The rest of the week looks promising and I expect to be boiling all day and into the evening.

March 29, 2015

It was a busy weekend at the camp. Many people took advantage of the sunny weather for their annual visit to the sugar bush. Its always a special pleasure to welcome return visitors, some of whom have been coming since we opened over 40 years ago.
The sap began to run today at 1.00pm but not enough to boil. It may continue into the evening and hopefully enough to start up tomorrow.
Next weekend is Maple Weekend when many sugar camps including Fortune Farms will be putting on special attractions. See mapleweekend.ca for more details.

March 27, 2015

Well we did have a run of sap on Wednesday night and Thursday and we were able to make some more syrup. But then the cold weather returned and no let up predicted until Sunday.  Next week looks promising  but I think I have said that before this year. Everything seems to working well. I should admit that I scorched a pan this past week when the sap level got too low.They say you are not a fully qualified sugar maker until you have scorched a pan. I achieved that status several years ago so now I guess I’m over qualified.
On a more favourable note, our neighbour reported hearing a red shouldered hawk in our Clayton sugar bush. Another neighbour reported seeing a red tailed hawk. The hawks are one week later than usual but its great to know some of them are back.
Our camp is open as usual all weekend and the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are operating. We have fresh light and light medium syrup for sale but we are not filling large orders yet.

March 24, 2015

Everything is frozen up again this week with the return of very cold weather. A snowy/rainy weather system is moving in on Wednesday which may stimulate some sap flow on Thursday. The camp is open daily from 10 t0 4 and we have fresh syrup, maple butter and other maple products for sale..

March 22, 2015

No sap today but we made some very nice syrup yesterday. The Shanty Men and Kettle Boys still have sap to finish boiling so they will be operating and will have their fires going. Our camp is open for a taste of fresh syrup and some taffy on the snow.

March 21, 2015

The sap ran yesterday and into the evening so we will be boiling later today. The Shanty Men and Kettle Boys will also be busy.There will be a fire in our fire pit to provide a warm up spot as you walk the trails. Its typical maple syrup weather with a bit of snow to cover the bare patches and add a festive air to the maple trees.

March 20, 2015

The sun is shining this morning and it is warming up. We should have a run of sap later today. The jet stream has finally returned to its more normal path which in large part accounts for our improving weather. We are very fortunate to escape the very heavy snowfalls in the maritimes.  It would be next to impossible to operate a sugar bush in such conditions

March 17, 2015

As predicted the sap ran all night and the tanks were full this morning. We made some very nice syrup today but once again the cold weather has returned and we are unlikely to have any new sap until Friday. We are ahead of last year so maybe we will have a “normal’ season.The camp is open every day and the trails are good for walking as the snow is packed and frozen.

Mar16, 2015

Its 8.00pm and the sap is running and we expect will run most of the night as the temperature is above freezing. We will be able to boil again tomorrow morning. Finally the season seems to be under way.

Mar 15, 2015

Its 9.00am and light snow is falling which is forecast to end this morning. This afternoon looks promising with sunny breaks and plus 3 degrees. The warm spell may continue and we could have a small run of sap on Monday. We are always hopeful. The camp is open and the Kettle Boys are finishing their first batch of syrup in their kettles.

Mar 14, 2015

Not very nice weather today with possibility of freezing rain in the Ottawa area.This may not reach our area as we escaped the  freezing rain and snow that fell in Ottawa on Friday. Rain or shine the camp is open, Kettle Boys are here today and tomorrow and we have some fresh syrup for taffy on the snow.

Mar 11, 2015

Well the season has started. We made a small amount of syrup yesterday so there is some fresh syrup to taste. Of course it froze hard last night and it is cold today so that was just a teaser. Hopefully next week things will pick up.

Mar 8, 2015

Tapping is now finished and we are waiting for the first run of sap. Forecast is for warm weather on Tuesday on Wednesday so we may have sap this week. The jet stream is now moving from the deep south to a more normal pattern so the spring like weather may continue. Lots of squirrel damage on our tubing in some areas. The squirrel population is up due to the very high seed crop on all the trees a year ago. There is also some deer damage in areas close to the deer yard but this is normal. The next step is to get all the sap transfer pumps running, the reverse osmosis unit assembled and rinsed and the evaporator rinsed and ready for the first boil. There is always lots to do to get ready at the start of the season.

Mar 1, 2015

Finally the weather has moderated and we were able to start tapping. Very slow going this year as the snow is deep and very soft so snowshoes are not much help. May not be any sap flow until mid March or later

Feb 22, 2015

It’s been three weeks of very cold weather and no end in sight until March 1. Our plan to tap in late
February has been delayed by at least a week. We hope we have time to finish tapping before the weather warms  and the sap begins to run. Some people say we are having an old fashioned winter but we may be setting some new records so folklore is not always accurate.

Feb 2, 2015

It’s Groundhog Day and there will be no groundhog shadow today as it is very cold and snowing. This means an earlier spring according to folk legend but so far we have had a cold winter and no sign of warmer weather. In any case, it is time for us to get ready for the coming season and of course that means tapping the trees. We plan to do this in late February and be ready to collect sap the first week of March.

Current Season Updates 2014

April 24, 2014

We are now in the washing up phase of our operation. All the taps need to be removed from the trees and the pipe lines back flushed and capped for storage until next year. Our camp is open daily this week and on the weekend. We will be open by appointment or by chance next week.

April 20, 2014

We made our last syrup for the season yesterday. We are still adding up our production but we did not make our target of 1 litre per tap. Beautiful day today and the camp is open for syrup pickup.

April 18, 2014

After a spell of warm weather we had two days of frost. With the return of warm weather  we had a large run of sap last night and it is continuing today. We will be boiling most of the day today and the camp is open all weekend-Friday, Saturday,Sunday and Monday. the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men have shut down for the season but the trails are now open for walking and we still have taffy- on-the-snow and a full range of products for sale.

April 12, 2014

A beautiful day at the sugar bush. We were surprised with a steady run of sap and enough to boil in the afternoon. Tomorrow may be rainy but with the lower atmospheric pressure the sap should continue to run. We will be open as usual. Tomorrow will be the last day for the Kettle Boys as their families want them at home for Easter. The first bluebird returned to our bird box yesterday and was back today signing in the nearby tree. So it looks like he has declared that this is his territory and he is waiting for his mate to return. Bluebirds were also seen at bird boxes at our other sugar bush near Clayton.

April 11, 2014

Spring has finally arrived with very warm weather and the snow is quickly disappearing. Not so good for maple sap as we need freezing temperatures at night to pump the sap up the tree. We did make the first amber amber syrup today and hopefully we will have a few more days of production before the end of the season. All our activities are in full swing for the weekend.

April 10, 2014

We have been very busy all week and today looks like another very good sap day. The weekend especially Saturday looks good as well

April 6, 2014

Its shaping up to be a beautiful day here at the sugar bush.  Lots of frost last night so there should be lots of sap today. All our activities are in on today.

April 5, 2014

Lots of rain yesterday but with the lower atmospheric pressure the sap ran well. Cool today but tomorrow it is to be warn and sunny and looks like another perfect day at the sugar bush. We are open and all our activities are in full swing.

April 3, 2014

So far the season is progressing well. Sap is running steadily but not  hard and we are making  good syrup .The syrup has been mostly medium grade in colour , which is unusual,  as the first runs usually produce light or extra light syrup. Other producers in both Ontario and Quebec are having the same experience. Something to do with the cold winter and the fact that with the heavy snow cover the tree roots are still frozen. The long range forecast looks promising but too early to tell what the full season will produce.

April 1, 2014

Yesterday was the kind of day syrup makers dream about. The sun shone, the sap ran, the equipment worked well and we made some very nice syrup. Today looks equally promising with lots of sun but not too warm. So the season is finally off to a delayed but flying start.
March 30, 2014

I spoke too soon. We had a major snowstorm last night with 10cm of snow. We are plowed out and will be open and at 9.00 am the snow is mostly over. So maybe later today it will return to spring.Tomorrow looks very promising with temperatures well above zero.

March 29, 2014

After another very cold week the weather has finally turned spring like. However, it may be March 30 before we have our first real run of sap. Today the Kettle Boys are in action and we have the usual camp activities. We have some fresh syrup for sale, fresh maple tarts and taffy-on-the-snow.On Sunday the annual pancake breakfast is being held at Union Hall at 1984 Wolf Grove one kilometer from our farm.

March 23, 2014

It was a sunny pleasant but cool day to-day. The sunshine continues tomorrow and the camp will be open. We have some early run syrup for sale along with all our other maple products. Maple vinegar is a new product for us this year. It is made by fermenting maple sap over a three to six month period. It has a distinctive maple flavour which mixes well with garlic and other ingredients for  a delicious salad dressing.

March 23, 2014

Finally we had a modest run of sap and made some  syrup yesterday. Back to very cold weather again today. We will have to wait until next weekend for a warm spell. The camp is open today and the Kettle Boys are finishing some syrup in their kettles. We have of fresh syrup for sale, fresh maple tarts and of course taffy on the snow. We heard the red shouldered hawk yesterday so they have returned again right on schedule. We also saw the first migrant robin this week and there are lots of wild apples still on the trees so there should be food available.

March 21, 2014
Good news. We had a small run of sap yesterday and we have enough for the Kettle Boys to set up their kettles on Saturday and Sunday. We will not have enough for the big evaporator unless the sap runs today. Then another cold spell but by the 27th the forecast is for warmer weather and the real start of the maple season.

March 17, 2014

We had a small sap run on Saturday and finally made our first syrup of the season. Then the cold weather returned and we are back into winter. There may be a warming trend later this week and we certainly hope so. The camp is closed until we get some warmer weather.

March14, 2014

Still not warm enough for sap. Looks like we will have to wait another week before the season starts. Our camp will be open on the weekend . We will have taffy on the snow and some products to sell  but no fresh syrup.  The trails are snowy but walkable. The Kettle Boys will not be here until next weekend.

March 12, 2014

After one day of springlike weather we are now in the midst of a major snowstorm. The sap did run a bit on March 11 but not enough to make syrup. Saturday may be warm enough for another small sap run then back to cold weather. Lots of time for repairs to pipelines. There seem to be more than normal number of squirrel chews on our pipelines this year. The squirrel population seems to have increased due to the big seed crop on many trees last fall.

March 8, 2014

It looks like we will have to wait another week for the first run of sap. It takes a couple of consecutive days of warm weather to thaw the trees enough for sap to run. Meanwhile, we continue to prepare  the camp and do all the pipeline repairs that were spotted while tapping.

February 28, 2014

One of hardest aspects of making maple syrup is waiting for the weather to cooperate. The very cold weather is delaying the start of the maple season. When it finally warms up the sap may come in a rush so then we will be wishing for the return of cold weather. We will finish tapping this weekend and start the process of getting the camp spruced up for the new season. We will not be open for visitors until the weather warms up and the sap starts to run.

February 23, 2014

It’s a cool but pleasant weekend and tapping is progressing well. The snow is soft, in spite of the rain this past week,which makes for slow going on snowshoes. According to the long range weather forecast the weather remains cool until March 8 or later. The traditional start date for the maple syrup season in Lanark County is March 15 so we may be right on schedule this year.

February 13, 2014

Tapping will start this weekend. The cold weather is finally easing to a more comfortable range. This is the last weekend for Winterlude in Ottawa and you can visit the Kettle Boys at Confederation Park until Monday.

January 20, 2014

Preparations are underway for the new season. We hope that it will be as good as 2013. The cold weather which helps convert the starch stored in the tree to sugar should help to make sweeter sap this spring. We were fortunate to escape the ice storm which hit Toronto and aside from some wind damage our bush is in good shape.

Current Season Updates 2013

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.

Current Season Updates 2012

March 21, 2012

The season is over for this year.  Our last run of sap  was on March19. We are still tallying up our production but it looks like 70 to 75%. Much better than we expected but well below our normal output. The cleaning up process is now underway. The camp will be open for syrup pickup all week and on the weekend. The Kettle Boys are returning on the weekend for a final show and tell.
The resident red shouldered hawks have returned to both our sugar bushes and are screaming their displeasure as we walk around working on our pipe lines. A neighbour  reported the return of a pair of red tailed hawks in his maple bush. This morning a bluebird appeared at our nesting box and a phoebe is singing nearby. Its great to see the birds returning and we hope the weather remains warm now that they are here.

March 15, 2012

We had some frost last night so we may have some sap later today. We are currently experiencing some freezing rain but it is forecast to warm up quickly. due to the weather the Kettle boys will not be here today but the main camp will be in operation off and on and the sales room is open.

March 13, 2012

We have had steady runs of sap since Sunday.  However, the weather  is turning very warm with no frost at night so we are concerned about the  season which may end early. The Kettle boys will be here on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. We still have snow on our trails so rubber boots are necessary for a walk in the woods. The snow is fast disappearing and may be gone by Thursday or Friday.

March 11, 2012

Looks like a perfect day at the sugar bush. Its sunny and warming up so the sap should run well. All our activities are active and we have light and medium syrup for sale as well as maple butter, maple candy and maple tarts.

March 9, 2012

We had a nice run of sap as predicted and made some very nice light syrup. We also had a surprise run of sap today as the temperature rose above zero, in spite of the weather forecast. We will be boiling tomorrow and the Kettle Boys will also be in operation. The forecast is for a cool but sunny afternoon and the Sunday forecast looks even better.

March 7, 2012

We expect a run of sap today and tomorrow as the temperature has changed dramatically from -20 Celsius to a forecast +12. There will be no frost tonight so the sap may run all night. It’s appears the season is finally underway after some early short runs of sap. We should have fresh syrup for the weekend if everything goes according to plan.

March 3, 2012

Well we wanted more snow and we got about 10 inches. It will be a few more days until the weather warms. The extra snow will add moisture for the trees and will help maintain a lower temperature in the sugar bush even if the temperature goes above 8 degrees. We have syrup for taffy and some maple sugar and maple butter prepared so our camp will be open on Saturday and Sunday.

February 26, 2012

Today was a beautiful sunny but cool day and too cold for sap. We did make our first syrup on February 24. Very good first run flavour. The coming week will be too cold for sap so we don’t expect another run until March 5. Our camp will be open daily starting March 3.

February 24, 2012

We have set a new record for the start of the season. The sap ran on February 22 and February 23 so we have enough to make some syrup today. Its has started to snow and we are expecting about 10 cm or so, which would be good for the maple season. The sap has only 2% sugar content but may become sweeter as tree roots thaw releasing the stored sugar.

February 20, 2012

The weather today is clear and cold but a warming trend is forecast for later this week We are finishing tapping today and will be ready in case there is a sap run this week. there is about six to eight inches of snow in the bush with a hard crust which makes moving about on snowshoes very easy. We are fortunate to have snow as many areas in the USA and western Ontario have virtually no snow.

January 17, 2012

Preparations are underway for the new season. This year we have re tubed the sugar bush on Wolf Grove Road and installed new check valves spouts. We used these spouts in the Clayton bush last year with excellent results. The check valve has a small ball in the spout which permits the sap to flow out of the tap hole but prevents back flow.This keeps the tap hole cleaner and prolongs sap flow. The idea was patented many years ago but was impractical to make prior to the advent of plastics.
The weather this year, to say the least, has been unpredictable. It has been warmer than usual and so far not as much snow. We always want a good snow cover to provide moisture and prolong the spring warm up. We plan to be ready for sap earlier than usual this year in case the warm weather continues.

Current season updates 2011

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.

March 21,2011

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.

March19, 2011

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.

March15, 2011

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.

March 10,2011

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.

Current Season Updates 2010

March 31, 2010

The season ended today. With the warm weather and no frost at night the sap has stopped flowing. Our production is down this year but we look forward to next year. We have some amber syrup for sale at the camp. We will be open Easter weekend.

March 28, 2010

It is slowly warming up this morning. We hope the sap will run later today. The Kettle Boys have some sap so they are in operation as usual and we still have snow for taffy-on-the-snow.

March 26, 2010
We made some syrup on March 24 and 25th but no sap ran today, as it was below freezing all day.. We saved some sap for the Kettle Boys and they will be operating over the weekend as usual. We will also have a fire in our fire pit for a warm up opportunity. Most of the snow has gone from the trails. We still have  syrup for sale and our back orders are ready for pickup.

March 23,2010

Sap is continuing to run after some frost on Monday night. Sugar content is going down, below 2% from the tree, which increases the amount of boiling required to make syrup. Sap often runs at 3% or better in our sugar bush.To-days syrup was amber in colour and strong in flavour due to the warm weather.

March 21, 2010
Mainly clear and cool this morning. We are open and have light, medium and amber syrup for sale. Also back orders are ready for pickup. Some spring migrant birds have returned and the red shouldered hawks are also back. The hawks return each year within a day or two of the the 22nd. This year they were two days early do to the warm weather. We usually see them first thing in the morning and later this month or early April they will be doing their courtship flight, which is spectacular if you are fortunate enough to catch them in flight.

March 20, 2010
Not much sap today We hope the  frost in the forecast will recharge the trees. We currently have some light and amber syrup for sale Our medium syrup is sold out until we can make some more. The Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are in full operation.

March 19, 2010
A small run of sap last night so we will be boiling today. Syrup is dark due to the warm weather. Saturday weather looks favourable and all activities will be underway.

March 18, 2010
The warm weather continues which is not very favourable for our operation. We are managing to coax some sap from the trees with our vacuum system. We hope the cold weather in the forecast will help the situation. Still snow for taffy-on-the-snow and the trails are now easier to walk.

March 16, 2010
The life of a sugar-maker is not easy. This year is turning out to be a real challenge. Fortunately, we were ready for the early start and have made some nice syrup. The warm weather this week will not help as it will melt the snow and reduce the quality of the sap. We are only half way through our target production so we hope the cold weather in the forecast will prolong the season.We do not have any special activities this week but we do have taffy on the snow and our trails are open.

March 14, 2010
In spite of the rain showers several people have visited the camp this morning. The sap is not running very hard today so we are not boiling at the main camp but the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are busy. a good day to pick up your syrup if you have it on order. Call ahead to be sure it is put aside.

March 13, 2010
The sap is running and we are in full production. Although showers are forecast for Sunday, we will still be operating and we expect the sap will continue to flow. By the way there is no charge for a visit to Fortune Farms and you are under no obligation to buy any of our products. But after a taste you may be tempted.

March 12, 2010
We are getting ready for the weekend. The weather looks favourable so we expect to be in production both days. Today we are making maple butter, maple candy and maple tarts so all our special maple treats will be available.

March 11, 2010
Another good run of sap yesterday and it is continuing today. We now have light and medium syrup for sale.

March 10, 2010
The fine weather continues and the sap continues to run. We have now had a week of almost unprecedented good weather for maple syrup production and we are working hard to take full advantage of this opportunity.

March 8, 2010
Another beautiful day and we expect another good run of sap. So far we have made extra light and light but expect it will turn to medium as the weather warms.

March 7, 2010
Sap has been running steadily each day and we are in full production. We now have early season syrup for sale at the camp as well as maple butter and maple candy. The first visitors arrived at the sugar bush yesterday and watched the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men set up and start operating. the trails are open but there is still almost a foot of snow in the bush.

March 5, 2010
First boiling went as planned on March 4 and we made some very nice first run syrup. We have a backlog of sap and will be boiling again today. The Kettle Boys and the Shanty Men are setting up shop today so on Saturday and Sunday all our activities will be underway.

March 4, 2010
Sap ran well on March 3rd and we expect sap today. We will be boiling for the first time today. Weather looks promising for the weekend so we expect to be in full operation.