“The birds are back!” came the call over our text message communication thread.
Of the many challenges to bringing in the harvest, it is the pests we encounter that makes the relatively short season a bit of a trick. In this case it’s the Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker causing our headaches this season, and they don’t like our spouts in the trees. It’s not just one or two spouts to be replaced but up to 30 in any particular section. However, the trouble is short lived, maybe a week of inconvenience and the birds move along.
At this point the squirrels have been easier to deal with.
In production news: Sugar making on Sunday (3/18) produced 275 gallons of finished syrup … a very mapley flavor as it came out of the pan. So we are off to a good start!
Day to day the sun’s intensity can be felt as we struggle through the snow checking lines and tuning the sugarbush to its best ability. The snow pack is deep, but is also transitioning from a hard pack to a mashed potato consistency. The question before donning our gear and tackling a section of the sugarbush may be: “Snowshoes? Or no Snowshoes?”
You may think with some of the warmer days we have experienced there would be more of a sap run, but the trees have not wanted to budge here on the shore of NE Minnesota.
These transitional days from winter to spring are the most difficult, but we’ll find our rhythm once we are past the start-up pain and get on with the business of producing 100% pure maple syrup.