Tuesday, March 8, 2011
1st Real Sap Flow and Harvest!
I just liked the above photo when I saw it. Val, from my spinning group took it. It's obviously not a maple tree but it captured the look and feel of collecting tree sap today. Driving to work this morning and home again this afternoon was just beautiful. Glass. That's what all the trees looked like. And the way the sun hit them from a low angle in the sky just made them and their colors all the more mesmerizing to look at.
When I got home I quickly changed into my jeans and grabbed the sap buckets. I knew today would be a good day for sap! Our first this year. The dogs and I went out and crunched and slid the whole way out back. Once the snowshoes were on I was more steady on my feet. They have claws on the bottom. Good thing because over the deep snow was a thick layer of solid ice. So the walking was easy. I never feel through once. Heaven! I got about 10 gallons of sap today but had to dump half of it. I really need to look into this discolored sap thing that's going on this year. Although not as many trees had it today as the other day. The other day when we collected we had to dump every single pail because of the discolored sap. Today was just a few. The big tree way out back was overflowing with sap but it was all a brownish yellow so it all got dumped. Ouch! Most of the pails had big chunks of ice in them too. The sap hadn't thawed all the way through from the freezing temperatures last night. Here's a picture of one pail's yellowish frozen sap. Heartbreaking.
Here's a pail today with some ice melting and dripping off the lid. It really was pretty outside today. Another reason I love maple syrup making. It's just a great way to get outdoors during the weeks of late winter and early spring.
If you'd like to read some real good science on sap go to this great biology of sap flow website: http://employees.csbsju.edu/ssaupe/biol327/lab/maple/maple-sap.htm
Happy collecting and boiling!