Things have come to a grinding halt across Northern New England and it does not look to be warming up significantly in the 10-14 day forecast. Couple this cold snap with last weeks disappointing sap run and we certainly are not near where I had hoped we would be after my last update.
Last week we were hopeful for three good days of sugaring, but it ended up being about 30 hours of decent sap flow mid week. The extreme cold temp the weekend prior really locked up the trees and ground. It took all day Monday, and until around 5 PM Tuesday until things got going. The weather didn’t help either as it struggled to warm and there was no sun. We ended up making a bit over 800 gallons and that put us just under 3 lbs per tap. We have made a total of 6000 gallons and are just over half way to our goal for the season. Coincidentally, last year we had our biggest boil ever on March 12. What a difference a year makes!
This extended cold snap is pretty annoying. The low temps and wind created a lot of damage for us last week, and we had to walk all 23,000 taps to get our vacuum back to where we want it. I anticipate when it does run again it will be like starting all over with vacuum issues. It will also take a few days of decent temps to get things thawed again.
What does this mean for production this season? Well, I’ll predict that since we are going to lose so many days in March there will not be a huge bumper crop. I still anticipate hitting or exceeding our goal, but not by a lot. Traditionally we make more syrup in April than March and maybe we will see that again. It just seems that with the crazy temperature swings we have had that we might warm up sooner in April than usual. The good news is we don’t need a ton of good days to get where we want to be as we have such a head start. If we get a 10 days of good to great runs we can make a pile of syrup.
We had mixed results changing our nozzles on our new evaporator. The gallons per hour of syrup jumped up over 105, but we were batching when drawing syrup on one side. We are going to have CDL change them again and hopefully things will be perfect. I don’t mind taking the little bit of time to get the evaporator dialed in completely as it is a really good machine.
I’ll update the journal when things start running again. Hopefully that will be sooner than 2 weeks! In the mean time we have a few small projects to get done in the woods and some syrup to deliver. Every sugarmaker should get some rest cause when it breaks loose again, I’d say we are in for some real big runs and not many breaks. Be ready to hit the woods hard as soon as the sap runs and don’t get disappointed when your vacuum levels are not good to start!