In case you readers have not read the blog comments recently, I will print the poem offered there by Elyse Moore in response to the previous post.

Sweet Music to Boil By

Sweet music to boil by
floats minds on clouds of steam,
through harmonies of aching muscles and hearts–
Hums liquid tones through soaring rhythms,
glowing crackling boiling toiling–
whose refrain flows into a single bucket
again and again.


[Elyse lived next door for decades. She writes from experience of this place and of the sugarhouse since she was our master boiler for a few years. Her son Aleks, who grew up climbing all over the sugarhouse roof with a gaggle of Valley boys,  joined the crew in 2017.]


WEATHER: The last freezing night was Saturday night. By Monday it was 70 in the shade; Tuesday was an even warmer day. Since the heat spike ended the temps have been in the 40’s and 50’s.

HOW’S IT RUNNING? It ran hard on Sunday and progressively worse until the run fizzled on Tuesday. The sap turned scuzzy in the heat. (Sap looks like water but it spoils like milk.) Two days and nights of 70 degree weather can kill a season and it killed Nebraska Knoll’s. Certain counties northeast of here could probably still see some good sap if they get a freezing night.

SAP SWEETNESS: Overnight Monday to Tuesday it plummeted from 1.9% to 1.2%. That’s some weak.

Three things crash at the end: Sap sweetness, sap quality – from clear to cloudy to mule piss (in the vernacular), and sap quantity. We crossed the line on Tuesday afternoon: all the markers screamed that the season had crashed.

Ugh, not this tedious job again (changing the filter press papers).

BOILING STATUS: It felt exciting to boil on Sunday and Monday, but on Tuesday we suffered from the heat and struggled with the filter press. End-of-the-year dark syrup just doesn’t filter well. Also, the scuzzy sap mucks up the RO machine. Enough!

Knowing when to call the season isn’t always as clear as in 2017. Some years, your blog editor will hear the fat lady sing a few days earlier Chief of Operations does.

Yes, sugar season is not over until the Fat Lady sings. This year she sang an aria in Spanish, loosely translated in English as “The sap coffee is all gone but still I wait for you, Lorenzo”.


[NOTE FROM THE BLOG EDITOR: She works as a church musician and will shelve this blog until after Holy Week and Easter weekend. Stay tuned for a preview of the opera The Work with the Sap.]

Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Raven sing in scolding tones whenever I approach to within 200 yards.




3 thoughts on “70 degrees in the shade

  1. Quite the rollercoaster season. Glad you translated the aria in spanish so that you could close up shop. Have a nice Easter.


    1. Hi Kay, Since you live in New Mexico, you might be interested in the original Spanish for the aria. Here it is: “El café de savia ya se fue y todavía te espero, Lorenzo”.


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