WEATHER Saturday 3/11
Walking to the mailbox,
my eye sockets ache in the winter wind,
the thin snow squeaks underfoot,
the woods shrink back from the road.
WEATHER Wednesday 3/8
Standing by the sap shed,
steam rises from a snowbank,
the picnic table lies bare,
my boot squishes one inch into the mud,
ravens call and respond,
Chief of Operations bounds up the steps singing How many deaths will it take ’til we learn that too many people have died?
Weather overview of the week:
Last weekend and Monday, frozen.
Tuesday, freezing rain, high 34 during the day, temps rose to upper 30’s during the night. (Turned on vacuum pump at 10pm.)
Wednesday, Rainy, then sun came out in the afternoon and temp rose to upper 40’s. Finally froze at 4am. (Turned off vacuum pump.)
Put another way, Week Three of Sugar Season mimicked Week Two which mimicked Week One. It’s the ALL or NOTHING pattern. When ALL ON, the temps are above freezing day and night; when ALL OFF, the temps are below freezing day and night.
We are quick to complain about this pattern. It means no rest for Chief of Operations since he must be ON as long as the sap runs, tending the vacuum pump and the
RO. We much prefer the YO YO pattern when the on and off both occur within a 24-hour cycle: warm by day, cold by night. The nightly freeze-up fosters harder runs, helps to keep the buds from popping, and offers a chance of some sleep.
HOW’S IT RUNNING? Echoing Week One and Week Two, the sap began running at night and eventually choked off in the morning. We have collected less sap each week. (ECHO, ECHO, echo.)
SAP SWEETNESS: 2.2%
BOILING STATUS: We boiled on Thursday, Day 10. Over the previous 36 years, the range of boiling days is 6 days (1987 and 1988) to 25 days (2016). The average is 17 days.