THE WEEK BEHIND: Last Monday, March 7th, the forecast of freezing nights and above-freezing days looked favorable for sap runs. In fact, we got a few mediocre late afternoon runs. The sap ran all night Friday into Saturday when winter descended with cold and nearly a foot of snow.
BOILING STATUS: We boiled Monday the 7th, Friday the 11th, and Saturday the 12th.
SAP SWEETNESS: 2.2 %
THE WEEK AHEAD: The forecast is for no freezing night for the next ten days. We don’t call a few hours of 31 degrees a freezing night. Highs are predicted to range through the 40’s and 50’s.
“It’s usually sometime in early April you might see a forecast like that. Man, in March we need the freezing nights,” says Chief of Operations at breakfast. He hums over his oatmeal. “These are winters of stunted growth, you know it?”
We could be in for one heck of a week.
MUSIC TO BOIL OR MUSH BY:
My distraction lately from reports of war, from office work, and in stolen moments on boiling days, is following the 50th running of the Iditarod, the 1,000-mile dog sled race in which mushers traverse Alaska from Anchorage to Nome. As maple sugaring is an icon of Vermont so is the Iditarod an icon of Alaska. Thanks to the internet coverage, I access the dogs’ joy in running and the marvel of the bond between musher and dogs. At this writing the dog teams have been traveling for close to eight days. The front runners are bucking wind and blowing snow on sea ice along the coast of the Bering Sea; the rest are stretched out along the Yukon River.
One day I listened to an interview of Thomas Waerner of Norway who won the race in 2020.
“Thomas, a listener wants to know what music or podcasts you listen to while you’re mushing.”
“I know a lot of mushers listen to these things and I used to, too,” says Waerner. “I no longer do because the music makes me more happy than I am. The dogs pick up on that and run too fast. Now I am just being there on the trail, traveling with the dogs.”
“If you were to listen to music, what would it be?”
“I can listen to a very broad range. I like Bruce Springsteen. Rhythm is most important, and it has to be a song.”
Does the Nebraska Knoll crew mind being happier than we are while we’re boiling? No. Or, not really, most of the time. It seems the crew intuitively regulates the happiness by following, say, Paul Simon’s Graceland (turned up loud) with the soundtrack to Brother, Where Art Thou (turned down) followed by a period of no music from the boom box broken by someone saying, “Who wants to be DJ?” Rhythm is most important, and it has to be a song.
Strong fare from Newfoundland and Labrador:
Emma introduced us to this song from a French band:
I’ve Got Trouble in Mind by the Liminanas. It’s also on YouTube.
More happy than
I am, euphoria
wells up in waves – its own music