Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mud Season '15

Crocus cultivars blooming in a warm spot; most spring bulbs are still under the snow pack.
 The weather is slowly warming up, though spring flowers are probably still a good three weeks to a month behind schedule. The bees have been out and about on quite a few sunny afternoons lately, but they're not finding much of anything to eat beyond the Domino nectar flow, as it were. The overall colony survival rate still looks like about 70%. 

A short pause in the sap flow, with the snow pack freshened up, March 28.
  Around the middle of March, the maple sugaring season really got going in earnest, again about a month late. Over the past two weeks, there has been a pretty reliable daily sap flow, and half a dozen  banner sap days when I've collected a gallon from each tap in the morning before work, then come home to find another gallon with some loss to overflow in the evening. Some of the best production has been during rainy thaws, where chilly but above freezing temps have kept the flow going 24 hours a day for several days straight.

This past week, two taps yielded a bit more than 10 gallons of sap (it's hard to tell exactly how much, since I've been skimming ice off of the sap buckets each morning). This boiled down to a quart of maple syrup, in the typical 40:1 ratio. The syrup is looking cloudy in the photo because of "sugar sand," a mineral precipitate that I will allow to settle and filter out. 

Eden the cat is very particular about not walking on snow, but with recent thaws she has been enjoying a much larger field of operations in the fenced backyard. She had been getting cabin fever, with only a couple of inches of open ground under the eaves where she could run back and forth when it was warm enough to venture outside.

No comments: