Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28 Sugaring

The '13 sugaring season so far has been pretty good so far. There have been a few short stretches where it was too cold and the trees stayed frozen all day, and some rainy periods where it didn't freeze at night and the sap petered out, but more days with a decent flow and a number of excellent days where each tap yielded a gallon or more. The first week's production was 3.25 cups of amber syrup from 10 gallons of sap (about a 48:1 ratio). The second week's operation yielded about 2 cups of clear golden syrup; the lightening of the color was probably because of a stretch of colder weather. 

 Here's a photo of a sap icicle on a sugar maple on the UConn campus last week, forming on a wound that the tree sustained over the winter. The tan tips on the sapsicle are where freezing and sublimation of ice have concentrated the sugar solution down to something that is probably pretty close to being natural maple syrup, if only a few drops of it. You can imagine that this sort of occurrence was how the Native Americans first got the idea for maple sugaring. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sugaring Season Start

I'm just getting done with shoveling out from the Blizzard of 2013 (and putting up a new mailbox, the old one having been pretty much finished off by the plows this time). The weather was very sunny and somewhat above freezing today, so I decided to try tapping the sugar maples. Success! Before the sun went down there was actually a strong flow, with an inch or two accumulating in the bottom of the buckets in the hour that the trees had between tap placement and the evening chill putting an end to the sugaring action for the day. Tomorrow is supposed to be a little warmer but rainy. Overall the forecast is for moderate temperatures and strong day/night temperature swings, so there should be some good sap runs.

In other locally-produced-sugary-substances news, the bee colonies have made it through the winter so far. I can hear faint buzzing from inside them, at any rate. They're pretty well covered in snow now, which should help keep them insulated from cold and wind.