Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Probably the earliest indication, from the botanical world, that winter in New England is s-l-o-w-l-y on its way out, comes from the Sugar Maples. The maple sap has been flowing for about a week in my neighborhood, as indicated by the formation of sapsicles on broken twigs, and a very small harvest of icy sap from the maple I tapped last weekend. It's been too cold for any sort of significant flow, but if the temperatures get near freezing and the sun is strong, the sap does start to move. In December, even if there is a freak warm spell, a tapped maple will not yield anything: they need a certain period of cold vernalization, or perhaps they respond to the increasing day length this time of year.
The Skunk Cabbage flowers can't be too far behind, perhaps starting in three to four weeks. Right now, the Skunk Cabbage buds are buried under a foot of snow, with more snow and ice on the way tomorrow, biding their time.