It’s the first of January, our thoughts are turning to tapping our sugarbush and the sugar house once again looks like a disaster zone.
The chaos is once again in the sugar house as we begin to improve our operations. The arch is torn apart and the pieces create paths through the sugar house. This year we bought a new air- tight door and blower for our arch. The arch is a frame that contains the firebox and supports the pans we use to boil sap make syrup. The new air-tight front will make the boiling more efficient by using less wood, which is a natural and renewable resource for us.
We also bought 2 new front pans ( there are 2 pans on the rig, a smaller front pan and a much larger rear pan). By having 2 front pans where the sap is the most concentrated while cooking we can switch the pans out and clean one while using the other.
The change is tapping in January, this is directly tied to the seasonal changes occurring here. When I was young ( I’m talking 25 years ago), we tapped during winter vacation – this is the end of February until the first Wednesday in March ( the day after town meeting which here in Vermont is considered a holiday). Due to weather pattern changes we are tapping up to six weeks earlier and making syrup a month before we use to. Its change, so far it doesn’t seem to be a huge issue as far as being able to produce maple syrup. I admit, When we tap in January we’re not fighting with huge amounts of snow, so it goes so much faster and easier. I can’t view that as a negative.