Now for the excitement of the last week. It seems everyone is very interested to hear how things went. We began tapping on Wednesday with a crew of three of us. Things were really nice going with low snow and good temps and we were able to make fairly good progress. We tapped Friday and Saturday with the vacuum on and by the end of the day Saturday the temp had gotten to around 39. By early afternoon sap was running ok but still not very clear, and by four when I came down from tapping thing had cleared and we began collecting, though not before going through the exhaustive checks of pumps, filters, tanks etc to be able to get the sap from point A to point B. By the end of the day we had a bit over 5000 tapped. Sugar content of the sap was a shocking 2.0! Sunday we began tapping again in order to finish up an entire releaser system of 6100 taps. Sap was starting to pile up and a second 5000 gallon tank was being filled. We began working on vacuum leaks and had gotten things up to around 26.5" when hell broke loose in the sugar woods. As the heavy rain departed, and huge rainbow ushered un some seriously damaging winds that uprooted trees, knocked down tops and almost knocked a few trees on to us. It was pretty sketchy up there for a while. We had to retreat to the sugarhouse where the vacuum was down to 10" and sap flow had really slowed due to the low vacuum. Around 4 things calmed a bit and we headed out with chansaws and head lamps to repair the damage, which was substantial. After a long evening we had the vacuum back to 24". Sap flow picked back up but the sugar content had dropped. We headed home in a Thunderstorm of all things and at some point in the night things froze up. On Monday we had around 8000 gallons of sap. I have brand new flow meters that had not been installed yet or I would know exactly how much sap we had.
Boiling went fine and after sweetening the pans we made only a bit over one barrel. Syrup quality was better than typical first run syrup, and was a high Amber Rich in color with a Fancy taste.
Now that we have things in order, and equipment ready to go we are eager for the next warm up. In the mean time we will be tapping everyday it is above 18-20 degrees and depending on the weather, should be done in 2-3 more weeks.
Good luck to all the sugar makers out there.