And then the great sap run of 2014 started. For us it was last Wednesday and I hear other sugar bushes around the metro had similar experiences. We had a little bit of sap coming in the past weeks but nothing like last weekend. The weather finally triggered the trees to start pumping and spilling sweet tree sap in the bags and sap tanks.
The temperatures dropped below freezing again on Friday night and Saturday was the best sap run yet. The open house on Saturday was a great success. We were cooking all day and visitors got to see how we collect sap with tubing, bags and buckets.
We also finished our first Black Walnut syrup, it simmered a little bit too long and finished at 68 % sugar. 66.5 % sugar would have been sufficient to call it syrup. I don’t know if it is the extra sugar but it sure is sweet, and a little nutty. You will have to take my word for it because we did not end up with enough syrup to start handing out samples.
We did not have a frost on Saturday night and I expected the sap run to slow down. Instead it ran through the night and all day Sunday. I was not planning to work on Sunday but the trees were telling me otherwise. All the storage tanks were full and if I would not start cooking I would start losing sap. Overflowing bags is a good problem to have but it should be avoided when possible.
We cooked all day Sunday and the nice weather brought lots of visitors to the Arboretum Maple Syrup House. We did not prepare for an open house but we won’t turn down a curious visitor. I still talked to the 120th person that came through the door but I must admit that my stories and enthusiasm grew shorter in the late afternoon.
The sap was still running on Monday but it was slowing down considerably. Now we need another frosty night to trigger the trees to start pumping again. How about one more snowstorm for old times sake?