Sugaring time, at last

It’s March 11 and suddenly everything is different. It was eight degrees with two feet of snow, for Thanksgiving. Now, nearly four months later, two weeks into March, it has been cold cold cold with clean dry snow, ever since. It’s been a long haul. Yesterday the relentless cold was forgotten as the sun shone on a thawing world. The whole day felt like a party.

Last week the sugar makers were all tapped out by Town Meeting Day. When I was a teenager, that was the bench mark for tapping out --- you either started then or finished then depending on when Town Meeting, always the first Tuesday in March, fell on the calendar. For the last few decades, tapping out has inched further back into the previous month, getting as far back as early February. Now, here we are, back at Town Meeting Day.

Two days ago the cold broke. Monday got its chin over the freezing mark. The pressure was on to make sure all the equipment and systems were in good working order. Yesterday the sap started to run. Vacuum pumps were started and the first trickles of sap started to show in the tubing: slow bubbles making their way downhill to start filling the gathering tanks. Folks walked their lines looking for leaks in the system. Coyotes, squirrels like to bite the tubing. Sometimes a busy tapper will drill into a pocket of dead wood and a tap will simply be sucking air. The sound of the pump will tell you if it is working too hard and you will have to hunt down those leaks. That is heavy going right now, on snowshoes. The snow is deep this year. Today things are going to let go – the sap is going to run – hard. It is as if winter, the lock down of just three days ago, never happened. The sun is strong, the roads are running water, and the snow is softening everywhere. Everyone will be boiling tonight.

- Lisa Chase, HSM shipper


I heard that the sap is not very sweet this year. can you comment?

Scooper — Mar 16, 2015

According to Fra, it started out sweeter than usual (>3%?) but it's been dropping off.

admin — Apr 17, 2015