A Tanka for March 22
Sun warming one cheek,
A wind chilling the other,
Earmarks of a run.
The maple buds are still tight;
Mud season is not over.
A Tanka for March 29
Brrrr, winter is back,
Frost is winning over sun,
Mud ruts are frozen.
Two days of this are welcome;
It means at least one more run.
WEATHER: After the nine-day thaw, two nights of temps in the 20’s revived the sap flow. Though it stayed above freezing for five days, the daytime temp hovered around 40 rather than spiking to the disconcerting 60 degrees of the previous thaw. Currently, and temporarily, it’s a chilly 15 and snowy.
HOW’S IT RUNNING? The best run of the year began last Wednesday, March 23. Typical of this season and others, the run picked up by late afternoon and accelerated through the night. This run began in earnest at 4pm. By 10pm the sap was gushing; it gushed until 4am when the temp dropped to its low of 33 degrees. The sap ran steadily but with less vigor until the run choked off in late Sunday afternoon, March 27th. Without nightly freezes, each sap run constitutes a prolonged episode, measured in days rather than hours.
The season’s not over yet.
BOILING STATUS: We have managed to keep what we call Banker’s Hours (8am to 8-10pm) all year except for Thursday, March 24th when a nearly overflowing concentrate tank prompted a 5am text to the crew. Luckily one person read the text at that hour and came right over. It would help if Chief of Operations knew when to tell the crew to come to work day by day but so often he doesn’t know. Or he sets a time and then wishes he could adjust it by an hour or two or three.
The RO works all night; there’s a graveyard-shift crew member no one ever sees who operates the RO. Thank you, Romy.
FLOODLIT: All day Saturday and Sunday parents and children file through the retail room into the room where the evaporator-beast roars and steams.
SPOTLIT: A mother leads her toddler by the hand, walking a foot ahead of him. He pauses when he hears the roar of the evaporator-beast. The mother asks, “Do you want to see where they’re boiling the sap?” He grips her hand and steps toward the roar.
[N.B. The out-of-focus photos were taken by non-photographer, yours truly. AC]