We are taking advantage of the cold day to clean the flue pan, fix a couple issues in the woods and visit a few sugarhouses. Ours is too far off the road to host an open house. It is also nice to get out and see friends sugarhouses since usually we are so busy this time of year.
Now, on to the season and where we set now. Not much syrup has been mad at this point. We are about 10% of a crop at this point and have only made 1200 gallons on 5 small boils. I know some in lower elevations are faring a little better but not by much. Sap runs have been slow and sweet (2.0-2.5%) aside from the first run which averaged under .07% sugar for us. During that run we had our largest volume of sap, around 30,000 gallons, and hardly made any syrup. It was our smallest boil of the season and quite disappointing. I am glad the sugar has come up and hope it stays with us for the season.
Yesterday was a bit of a bonus for us, as the sap ran pretty well in the wet snow and 36 degrees. I was not expecting much of anything but ended up with enough sap to make a few hundred gallons of syrup. It had only trickled the prior two days which were in the 40's. I cannot explain it, but will take all we can get.
I always find the first run to be have pretty good volume. After the first run we typically see slow runs, which is the phase of the season we are in now, until we get really unthawed. Where we are at 1200-2000 feet, that means some 50's and even 60's for a few days are what turns our trees on. It happens every year. We still have about 14"-24" of snow on the ground and the snow has not opened up around the bases of the trees yet.
I am seeing some mid to upper 40's out next week and hope the forecast stays on track. We will be getting sap throughout the next week but I don't anticipate things to break loose yet.
At this point we are ahead of last season, and I am still optimistic that we will have a decent season, though it is late. The Climate Prediction Center is predicting temps below average for the month of April. As long as we don't have any huge warm ups with upper 60's and 70's we should make a boat load of syrup this coming month.
Our vacuum has been very good, mainly because we have had so much time to find leaks.
The cold weather this past winter took a toll on our plumbing to and from our tanks, and we discovered multiple broken valves and pipes all over the place. We have basically re plumbed the entire sugarhouse which has been a wicked pain.
I am throwing in two new membranes into the R/O anticipating some real good runs coming up. Fingers crossed that we have set ourselves up for success when the sap starts thumping in.
Good Luck to everyone the remainder of the year.