Here Comes the Sun - and soon the SAP of 2021!

by Don 2/26/2021 3:52:00 PM

  This is the time of year that I start singing this Beatle's song, notice a quickening in my pace, and appreciate the coming of a new syruping season. 

  The isolation during this COVID-19 period has given us generous time to almost leisurely prepare for this season. All 1200 taps are in, due in large part to our son, Peter, and grandchildren, Jack and Greta. The equipment is all operational and has been shined to showroom condition. 

  We have culled some of the aging trees that have suffered the consequences of multiple years of excess moisture.  Turnover in the forest is expected, but much like the Big Woods of Nerstrand State Park, in southern Minnesota, we have seen more trees dying or looking stressed. We still have a robust forest of maple, and the thinning of trees allows some of the younger maples to flourish.

  We continue to practice the annual replacement of spiles and any drop lines that have squirrel damage. Producers who don't replace spiles each year see reduced yield, due to bacteria on the old spile. This stimulates the tree to begin the healing process prematurely at the tap hole.  Once again, adoption of best practices provides us with the greatest opportunity for a superior product. 

  We turn on the vacuum system whenever the temperature reaches 32 degrees. Even though we have hit 40 degrees for short periods, the first flows are delayed and more of a trickle. After a slight dip in temperatures this weekend, a warmup is forecast, which looks very favorable for sap flow. Last year our first boil of sap was March 6th, so we're right on track.

  If you are thinking of tapping some maples in your yard, I would do it now.

  Recheck this blog for updates on our syrup season!