WEATHER: Yesterday, Friday April 20th, presented with 4″ of new snow.The temp ranged from 30- 33F.

Early Saturday Morning Tanka after a bleak week:

Not sullen but Sun.
Shadows of apple trees
claim the snowy bank.
No squirrels, no wind, a raven
who strikes the clapboards, retreats.

HOW’S IT RUNNING? Once again yesterday the bucket taps ran well while the tubing  taps slept. Could it be elevation, since the bucket trees are lower than all of the tubing trees?

We’re not alone in scratching our heads over why the sap hasn’t run better in April. It’s not just our trees, or our type of taps, or our micro-weather. As is always the case – but we forget –  our experience echoes someone else’s experience. Regional trends emerge. For example, most sugarers are making much lighter syrup this year than they did in 2017.


These brothers live alone out in the sticks (at the top a steep, brushy climb from Penn Station). Drawing: Ana Lucia Fernandez


What sugarmakers wish for tends to align with others’ wishes. It’s not original thinking but it can be expressed a few different ways:

“I am hoping we hit our goal and then it gets really warm and just ends it.” -Ben Wilcox of Amber Ridge Maple in Underhill.

“Hoping for closure, or at least a finale.” – Freedle, Nebraska Knoll’s social media manager

“Wish the season would get going and then end for you.” -a blog reader



Stopped by John Moffatt Sugarhouse in Craftsbury. He has around 40 buckets. He used to have 6000 buckets and 4 draft horses. Buckets have been running really well the last couple days. -TS


SEVEN DAY NITER PRIMER, Day Five:  Early and mid-season syrup filters nicely through the cones, but the niter in dark syrup clogs them up. The syrup sits in the cones and cools off.  You must lift out the cone and pour the syrup into a clean cone, then quickly rinse the niter out of the soiled one. Often the dark syrup must be transferred three or four times. Sugarmakers with this old-style filter system dread making dark syrup. That slimy niter clogs the felts so darn fast!


The six-toed wonder (not photo-shopped)


Saturday Morning Tanka, two hours later:

Snow melt pelts off the
east-facing side of the house.
There goes a whole slab.
When there’s that sheen on the snow
You know it’s sublimating.

Dear maple trees, what are you doing today?



One thought on “Get going and then end

  1. As for the season, I don’t know what to wish for, so I’ll wish for whatever you wish for!
    Any ideas on the six-toed wonder?


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