Nature Notes

Cleaning Up

By Richard DeVries

Last week I pulled all the taps and started cleaning up. I still have a lot of things to clean up and put away till next season.

We ended up with 70 gallons of pure Maple syrup. I did not have time to bottle any of this years syrup yet but it should be available in the Arboretum Gift Store shortly.IMG_7691

The last day I cooked syrup was Saturday, March 19. I talked to some visitors from Grand Marais that told me their season was just getting started, too much snow in the woods they said.

The Walnut syrup was a huge success, everybody that tasted it thought it was really good. It was sweet but nobody thought it was nutty. Some people thought it was smoky, tangy, indescribable or just like cinnamon toast crunch. I hope we can continue the Walnut syrup next year.

My last Maple Syrup activity this season will be to attend the spring meeting from the Minnesota Maple Syrup Association. If you are a Maple syrup producer, large or small, you are welcome to join. There is more information on their website,

Saturday's smoke
Saturday’s smoke

The rest of the year I will be working on the grounds. My next task should be burning the prairie, Spring Peeper Meadow and some other natural area. Prescribed burning is a great managing tool for maintaining prairie landscapes. We did one burn last Saturday, if you happened to see a lot of smoke it was probably from us. As you can imagine the rest of this week is not looking very promising to burn. On the plus side, April showers bring May flowers, and May is only a couple days away.

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