To catch you up, here are entries from the Sugarhouse Logbook:


3/28  Frozen ’til yesterday afternoon – sunny with good run in late afternoon, solid freeze last night. Thought today would be banner run but rain in the afternoon with south wind slowed it down. High into 40’s. Sap sweetness 2.4%.
3/29  Ran feebly all night and morning, picked up in early afternoon when sun shone briefly.  SS 2.5.
3/30 Cold dreary morning, temp in low 30’s last night, run slowed to

After. A classic sign that it’s sugar season. Like using a traditional clock with hands and not noticing the moment when the hour changes, no one witnessed the moment of avalanche although many of us were close by.

dripping by dawn.
3/31 40’s last night with fair run, temp dropping during day.  SS 2.2

WEATHER: April, The Cruelest Month, debuted with several inches of snow that fell overnight on 3/31. The sun didn’t warm things up much. Today, April 2nd, ought to see temps in the high 40’s with abundant sun.

HOW’S IT RUNNING? As you can surmise from the logbook, we haven’t had a strong run yet. Today? Will the south wind dampen the run?

SAP SWEETNESS: 2.2 -2.5%. A cup of tea brewed with it tastes sweeter than a cup of tea brewed with water with a scant teaspoon of sugar added. Sugarmakers across Vermont are reporting sweet sap and exceptional flavor. The quantity is low so far (for Nebraska Knoll) but the quality is superb.

BOILING STATUS: We’ve boiled 9 days.



Pail by pail, stoke by stoke,
Sure hope the press ain’t broke,
All it takes is a pump that smokes
For the swears to come a tumblin’ down.

On Friday, Sam and Audrey held a smudging ceremony over the filter press. Balsam twigs smoldering in the sap bucket provided the smoke.

(sung to the tune of Dave Mallett’s song Inch by Inch, Row by Row)

On Thursday, the filter press was nothing but trouble. We blew three pressure gauges, niter chips clogged the corners – and then there was the pump. We had to shut down the boil twice.



Two-inch hose gushes
Water on RO room floor,
Cries of urgency.
Funny, the crew just left,
Don’t know they missed the drama.

WHAT FUELS THE WOODS CREW? Kelly’s “over the rainbow” lunch.

SCORCHING THE PANS: It’s best to save this for another day. (It happened on my watch.) Chops was sleeping. Ross masterfully orchestrated the unscorching. Christian improvised a way to view the bottom of a trough without draining it: Take a pyrex measuring cup and slide it along the trough.

The Tune-Yards

Ross’s mystery lunch. The best guess was from Jan Reynolds: Cheesecake and cabbage.
A fueled-up Kelly fueling the arch. He’s the first to kneel on the job.

3 thoughts on “Pail by Pail, Stoke by Stoke

  1. Hoping the weather makes a drastic improvement over the next few weeks. Talked with another sugar maker and he said he had one good run back in February and nothing since.


  2. Thanks, Stew. The good news is that the sap is hammering into the sap shed this evening. I’d forgotten what that looks and sounds like. There was no belching of ice out of the lines this morning as there sometimes is, but little by little the run picked up. AC


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