For those of you familiar with the leaky flue that “healed” every night after a boil (when the sap in the flue drained out to below the level of the leak), here is evidence of remedial surgery. A rivet was leaking. The fix is a stainless bolt with a copper washer.

QUICK UPDATE: We got a good run starting Tuesday afternoon. We boiled yesterday, Wednesday, from 5am to midnight. The RO has been processing sap night and day. This evening we are still boiling leftover sap.

Last night it froze and barely cleared 32 all day. Tonight it is freezing much harder; it’s the last freezing night in the forecast. The trees wanted to run, and did their best to run, at 28 degrees this afternoon. This behavior indicates late sugar season.

The niter (sugar sand) is heavy this year. Each pail of syrup looks muddy; when you scoop syrup from the pan and let the syrup spill back into the pan, you’re left with wet, white, beach-like sand in the scoop.  The niter can burn onto the bottom of the pan at the end of a too-long boil and eventually chip off into jagged Necco wafers.

The Nebraska Knoll style of moving 40-gallon syrup drums out of the sugarhouse.

The filter press clogged up repeatedly – and persisted in demonstrating its everyday 2019 antics. The swearing index reached an all-time high. Eventually we began to strain the syrup before running it through the filter press.

In the spirit of poet Robert Stafford who said (and I paraphrase) that if you can’t find a poem get down on your hands and knees and look around, here is a poem for yesterday, the  Big Boiling Day.

A Poem for April 3rd, 2019

Craving a moment of calm,
in sugarhouse-dirty carhartts
she walks down Falls Brook Lane,
across the one-car bridge
edged with dirt-smeared logs.

The bridge is dirt, but
a channel half the width of her boot
cuts through dull and dirty ice. There are
three inches of ice under the dirt
on the bridge in the woods.

Old snow, dirty snow drapes the banks
of the brook running low and clear.
It’s dusk.
The sky does its moody thing.
No birds sing.

Nothing smells, neither the dirt,
nor the ice under the dirt,
nor the unmelted snow,
nor the brook. The brook is clean,
not dirty with snow melt,

not yet.


Installation art. In silence, the foam in the float box grows and topples, grows and topples.

2 thoughts on “A Good Sap Run at Last

  1. I laughed out loud at the “swearing index.” (I can hear it. ) I loved the poem, Audrey. I walked it with you.


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