It was a busy week and weekend. Quinn and Jim pulled the 1000 taps in the home woods, Jim and Brent pulled out the pickup tank from the Home Woods and Jim Cleaned them all. Jim picked up the rest of the bag hangers and washed them all (450) in the dishwasher. On Friday Dave helped Jim put away the pickup tanks and bag hangars and then Dave pulled taps in the Harmon Woods for 6 hours. Brent & Brandon showed up about 3:30 so the 3 of us pulled about 2500 taps. After pulling taps Brent and Dave emptied and brushed out the Harmon Woods pickup tanks. Since the trees had turned we emptied out about 2000 gallons onto the ground - we wanted to get them empty since it was going to freeze hard Friday nite. On Saturday we picked up all 3 tanks, rolled up the 300 ft drain line and the 100 ft pickup line to the road. While Dave, Bruce and Jim pressure washed the tanks Kevin and Brent worked on the granary project. The cold snap continued - the high on Saturday was 34 and Friday was 35. This was the coldest end of season we could remember. We were hoping we’d get more sap but the frogs were croaking in the pond so we knew the season was over. We ended up with 1,279 gallons of maple syrup made from the 49,994 gallons of sap. The sugar content was about the same as last year. 2.24%. On the average we made 1 qt of syrup from each tap. There was hardly any Grade B dark syrup made this year.
Quinn finished up detapping the home woods this AM. He was very happy to be able to use Jim’s new $31 spile hammer. He had one tap he couldn’t reach so he had to get one of the small ladders to finish the job. Jim finished the bag removal from the Harmon Woods and cleaned up the home woods tanks. Tomorrow Dave and Brandon will start detapping the Harmon Woods. There are 3,600 taps to take out so we’ll see if we get it done. That would leave picking up the drain hoses and tanks on Saturday. The weather remains cloudy and cool. Normal hi is 51 and low is 30 but we have been in the 40’s and around 30 for lows. Light rain and snow has been happening every day this week.
Another cold front came through this afternoon. Snow, Sleet and rain came in the PM but Jim removed another 200 bags from the Harmon Woods. We had taken off 239 bags on Sunday. There’s about 35 left.
The 2016 Sugaring season is officially over after Jim received the call from Greg Pittman today. Once again it was proven that if the frogs are croaking in the Harmon Woods pond the sap season is done. They were croaking quite loud yesterday so it didn’t surprise me that the season is officially over. The sap will continue to run with the cold weather this week but the trees have turned so if the sap is processed it will have an off flavor. It was one of the first times that the season extended 3 months - late Feb, March and early April. Today Jim started unhooking the lines to the home woods tank and pulled some taps. I expect we’ll get everything done by this coming Saturday. Overall I would say this was an average year for sugar content 2.25 ( 1 basis point better than last year) and output (1200 gallons of syrup made with 47,000 gallons of sap).. Ratio of sap needed for one gallon of syrup was 39 to 1 this year.
After yesterdays return to February weather (high of 33 and 30-40mph winds) the weather warmed to 62 today after an overnite freeze. We were hoping for additional sap and we started getting it today. Hopefully this will be a good grade B and that the trees have not turned which would give the syrup a sharp bitter taste. Jim checked the home woods and there was 300 gallons in the tank at 12:30pm so we knew we had sap. After finishing up the floor on the granary project Jim, Dave, Brent, Kevin, Quinn and Mike headed to the harmon woods to pickup sap from the 457 bags. We picked up 400 gallons from the trees that were running yet and we removed about two thirds of the bags and spiles from the trees that were done giving us their sap. Their job was done for the year and we were thankful for their effort. We loaded up the spreader and Jim hauled the hangars/spiles back to his farm to start cleaning them in his dishwasher. At about 5 pm Jim was advised by Jason Pittman that he was picking up a load of sap from the Harmon Woods - should be about 2,000 gallons. It’s supposed to freeze again tonite so we should have a good run tomorrow also. As of today we have about 49,000 gallons of sap and 1300 gallons of syrup. Pittman has only made 50 gallons of B so far this year so the quality has been exceptional. We need more B since many of our customers like the strong maple taste.