End of Season

The season has ended. It has been our most productive season to date. One never knows from year to year what will happen. It is almost fully dependent on the weather. This year the sap ran through the night more than usual. This seems to occur when the temperature hovers around the freezing point and the atmospheric low pressure is below normal.It’s always a pleasant surprise to find our tanks full of sap in the morning.
The Kettle Boys and Shanty Men have of course shut down for the season. The snow has gone from the trails but there are wet spots and good waterproof footwear is essential.

The rain has stopped this morning and the birds are singing. Our resident male bluebird has returned and has claimed the bird house. There may be a shower or two later today but much more pleasant than the heavy rain yesterday. Sunday and Monday look very pleasant.
We are open as usual from 10 t0 5 all weekend.

Busy Weekend

Once again I am catching up on the blog after a busy weekend. The sap continued to run slowly but steadily all weekend and it ran again last night. The atmospheric pressure dropped to a very low level during the rain storm last night and is continuing to stay low today. The low pressure along with our vacuum system is stimulating the sap flow. We are very pleased to obtain this sap as we are now making Very Dark syrup with the strong flavour preferred by some people and which is also good for cooking.

We think the season is winding down due to the warm weather. But this year it is so unpredictable we may get another run of sap after a cool night or if the atmospheric pressure stays at a low level.In any case the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are finished for this season. The trails are almost clear of snow except in our big gully which is still snowy and partly flooded. We expect this trail to be clear by the weekend.

With the production of Very Dark syrup yesterday, we now have all the grades of syrup available and we are busy putting all our orders together.If you are wondering about your order phone or email for an update. We are also phoning or emailing as we have time. Best for pickup midweek if that is convenient for you. As usual we are open 10 to 5.

A Busy Two Days

Finally, I am getting a chance to catch up on the blog. The sap has run continuously since Thursday morning and is still running this evening but at a reduced flow rate. Our storage tanks were full this morning with about 6000 gallons of sap. It also ran very hard on Wednesday so we have had long hours of boiling this week. There is still sap in our tanks so we will be boiling again tomorrow. With the warm weather and no significant frost in the forecast the sap may stop flowing and the season could be winding down. The snow in the sugar bush has disappeared on the some hillsides but is still about a foot deep in most areas. The trees will not begin to bud until the snow is gone and the roots warm up. When the tree comes to life again, the sap, if any, that runs no longer makes good syrup. It has what we call a buddy taste which is unpleasant.

We have been restocking our shelves this week with maple products ready for the weekend. We do not have Very Dark syrup but we have all the other grades available. Maple tarts and maple fudge are favourites and will be available.

The Kettle Boys and Shanty Men started operating today and will be ready to go again in the morning. The forecast is for warm sunny weather so it should be an enjoyable weekend at the sugar bush. We will be open as usual from 10 to 5.

That Sunshine is Like a Spring Tonic

Two beautiful bright days of sunshine helps to revive one’s spirits after such a long winter. A bit cool for good sap weather but enough ran on Monday to boil. Not so much today but we Looking forward to the remainder of the week with warmer weather.

No new birds to report but the crows are very active and are probably staking out their nesting sites. The snow is slowly sinking and compacting but there is still very about two feet in the sugar bush. The jet stream still has not moved north but some warm air has managed to come our way from western Canada.

There are not as many visitors midweek and we are not so busy so it’s a good time to come for a walk around and visit with the staff. Two of our granddaughters, Melanie and Sarah, are here this week along with great grandson Gus. We expect granddaughter Laura and great grandson Harvey here this weekend. It’s great to have so many family here at this time of year.

A good supply of rich flavour light amber and darker amber syrup is available along with other maple products.

We are open 10 t0 5 daily.

Sunny but Cool Weekend

A busy day yesterday as we had our best run of sap so far this year. The Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are well stocked with sap and will be operating on Saturday and Sunday. A bit cool this morning but should warm up in the bright sunshine by late morning.

We will be open today and tomorrow from 10:00 to 5:00.

Cool but Sunny : A no Sap Day

About 3 cm of snow fell last night and with the bright sunshine everything is sparkling this morning. We have scraped the snow away and will be open as usual today. We now have fresh amber syrup available for sale.

The sap ran a bit yesterday as the temperature rose to 4 degrees,somewhat higher than forecast. The sugar content in the sap is less than 2% which is lower than our normal at 2.5% to 3.00%. So far only the sap and sugar stored in the tree trunk is available as the roots are still frozen. We compensate by increasing the processing time in the reverse osmosis machine to boost the sugar content to 12%. The weak sap and longer processing tends to produce amber syrup rather than golden at the start of the season.

We have a small quantity of sap to boil today. The trails are open but very snowy. Taffy on the snow will be available for visitors. We are open from 10:am to 5:pm.

Still in the Start-up Phase

Another day with only a dribble of sap. We’re hoping that things warm up tomorrow to stimulate the first real run of sap.

We’ve spent the last two days turning on all the pumps in the four pump houses for a total of six sap pumps and two large vacuum pumps. Typical problems occurred with blown fuses and one circuit breaker not working. Everything is now on and ready to go. We also filled the evaporator with water and successfully tested its operation. Still to go for tomorrow is the annual assembly of the reverse osmosis machine.

In the camp we have made fresh batches of maple butter,maple candy and maple mustard. We now need some fresh syrup to stock our counters.

In spite of the cool weather some visitors came by to check on our progress and to enjoy some taffy on the snow. They seemed to be as anxious as we are for the season to start.

We’ll be open tomorrow from 10.00 to 4.00

Good News; We Plan to Open for the 2019 Season

The sun broke through for a brief spell  today and the temperature rose enough to stimulate a bit of sap flow. Not enough to collect but it shows the trees are ready to run. It now looks like favourable sap weather on Thursday Mar 14 and Friday Mar 15 and maybe Saturday as well.

We will officially open for visitors on Wednesday, March 13. The trails are snowy but okay on snowshoes and would be good exercise for the kids during March break. We will serve taffy on snow and we have fresh maple candy for sale. There may also be fresh syrup to taste. If there is enough sap the Shanty Men now plan to open a week early on Saturday, March16. Our hours this week will be 10.00am to 4.00pm.

The 2019 Season

We are having a traditional Canadian winter this year. With 3 feet (76 cm) of snow in the sugar bush snowshoes will be necessary for tapping which will begin next week.  Based on the long term forecast we do not expect the first sap run until the second week of March, also the traditional start date for this area.

 

This year we have had some squirrel damage to our tubing system. For some reason, in one section of the sugar bush, the squirrels clipped the spile adapter from the end of the drop line as well as the pin on which it is connected to seal the tubing system between seasons.The photo on the left shows the damaged drop line missing the adapter and pin. Also shown is a drop line without damage and the drop line pinned for storage.Somewhere the squirrels have stored these pieces of plastic and will be disappointed when they try to salvage them for a lunch this winter. About 100 drop lines were damaged and they have been replaced. There is always something new and interesting in the sugar bush but it also adds to our annual work load

 

 

As usual at this time of year we are in the process of getting ready for another season. This will be our 46th year of making maple syrup and there have been many changes in the sugar bush and in the production process over that period. Many of our older trees have died in part due to damage from the ice storm but are quickly being replaced by younger trees. We are fortunate that our two sugar bushes have a good understory of younger trees ready to grow rapidly when there is a break in the canopy.We have kept up with the evolving production techniques which have improved our efficiency and reduced the amount of fuel required and the green house gas emissions.Some things never change which is joy of working in the sugar bush and the taste of fresh maple syrup.

When you visit our camp this year you will find a much enlarged parking lot. Wolf Grove Road was repaved this year and it was convenient to have the road crew widen our parking lot at the same time.