We finally finished up tapping last week, which is always a huge milestone. Tapping this year took us forever mainly due to everyone in the crew getting the flu at some point during the tapping season. There were not many days that we all were there this year at the same time. We also had three runs and two boils along the way so we moved some or all of the crew off of tapping to work on vacuum leaks.
Both of our boils went pretty well and we have made about 750 gallons of maple syrup to date. The sugar content of the sap was only 1% on our first boil and 1.5% on our second. Hopefully that trend continues for our next boil.
We are entering what is typically my least favorite part of the season which is late February and early March. During these times day time temps begin to average 32-36 degrees making us have to run vacuum and monitor the the sugarhouse only for the sap to drip in or run very slow. It makes things difficult to plan your days and sometimes keep busy, if it takes all day to warm up, or if its not as sunny as forecast etc etc. This time of year 33-40 degrees just usually Isn't enough to get things really going. Fixing vacuum leaks is also a lot harder. Later on when things are really thawed, mid 30's can yield lots of sap but not this time of year.
This week so far has been a bust. Thursday we were hoping for some temps in the 40's but it only got to about 34 in the woods, today is forecast to be around 34 and tomorrow the upper 30's with rain. Warm enough to force us out in the woods and working all weekend but probably not enough to get collect the required amount of sap to boil. We have plenty of vacuum leaks still to find however.
The two week forecast is calling for below average temps so we will probably not be doing much sugaring for a couple of weeks. I am really hoping that after this cold snap we have some good March weather. We actually have not had good sugaring production in March for at least 4-5 years. Its been much too cold for most of the month. The past two seasons we've made a ton of syrup in February and then not much again until the end of March, and the two seasons before that we just didn't make much of any syrup at all until the end of March. We have had snow cover for 100% of the winter so the ground should not be frozen which will help sap flow when we do get good temps. Our few runs we had in February actually saw some pretty good sap flows, so I am hopeful when we do get some good sugaring weather we will have some very nice runs to start.
I'll check back in once we get rolling again and let you know how we are doing.