By Richard DeVriesSo, it wasn’t quite the sap-run I was hoping for. After the dusting of snow on Thursday morning it got sunny and the temperatures were climbing. It had been cold during the night and the daytime temperature was getting close to forty degrees. It sounded like the perfect day to get some sap.
In the afternoon I was checking the lines, bags and buckets. On the north hill the vacuum tubing was dripping slowly and the buckets were dry, not a good sign.
For sure it had to be running on the south hill, because it’s nice and sunny there. On my walk over to the south hill, I took a close look at all the tubing on the north hill. I could see a little bit of activity inside the tubing. A little bit of sap and some bubbles were working their way down to the tank.
The tubing on the south hill was doing next to nothing, a couple drips had made it to the tank at the bottom of the hill. Close to the tank we have a handful of trees with blue bags. It is a good place to count drips and get an idea how the sap is flowing.
When I was walking to the bags I heard somebody yelling at me from the wildflower garden. ‘You’ll be cooking water this year, at least at the brunch!’ said a mocking voice. It was Matt Schuth, well known for his guided bird-tours and nature walks at the Arboretum.
Matt was the Maple Syrup guy before I took his place. He taught me nearly everything I know about Maple Syrup, except for the knowledge I gained from reading the Maple Syrup producers handbook. Matt told me I am going to have to wait a while for a decent sap run.
It has been too cold and the ground is still too frozen, he said. I realized that old people have so much wisdom and I have so much to learn.
This weekend is our first open house and we don’t even have enough sap to fill our flue pan.
For visitors this will be a great opportunity to check out our evaporator. Usually the steam hoods are down and it is too hot to get close. We will be cooking the sap we have in our smaller outdoor cooker. It is a nice set up to show backyard syruppers how to cook smaller amounts of sap into syrup.
At the open house, visitors can learn about the different ways to collect sap, including a vacuum demonstration. We will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about our Sugar House and in the Maple Room there is lots to learn about the history of Maple Syrup. The Learning Center has their hands-on Maple Madness family program with lots of activities.
It should be a great day to come explore the Arboretum’s sugar bush and try some Maple popcorn.
Our open house is on March 16 and March 30. The Pancake Brunch is on Saturday, March 23.