“Expect the unexpected.”
The first boil taught me there are layers of expectations.
What we thought we expected, and chatted about as we built up the fire in the arch:
The filter press pump to work. (It did.)
A novel crisis to bedevil the crew. (It did.)
What we expected but didn’t know we expected until it didn’t happen:
To make light syrup.
Rolled into one, here is a short version of the all-too-novel crisis that both fulfilled and defied expectations:
Immaculate – though extremely weak – sap in the tanks boiled into an odd-tasting dark syrup that had no niter and repeatedly gummed up the filter press, making for a gooey mess over and over, between midnight and 4 pm with a crew that had been checking lines or working a day job since 8 am.
It was the most peculiar sap and syrup we’ve ever seen. We’re not alone; as far away as Burke Mt. waft tales of a devilish first-run syrup. Conclusion: the trees are grumbling about getting out of bed. Somehow, this all relates to the frigid winter…