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.
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.
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.