Turned the Corner

maple1If I were to give a name to the winter of 2013-14, I’d call it relentless. I don’t think the maple trees have ever slept this long in my 6 or so years of tapping them. Day after day and week after week, I’ve checked the weather, checked the one tree by the road I poked my knife blade into, but nothing. Then about 3 days ago, we turned the corner.

It was subtle, but the hole in the tree by the road was no longer dry. It wasn’t running, but there was moisture. I switched to maple mode, and started hauling things out to get the season ready. The biggest job was to haul my new 55 gallon stainless steel barrel out. It made it down the road on the little plastic sled, but when I tried to pull it across the field with me on snowshoes, it was too top heavy. So I wound up carrying it all the way on my shoulders. I also hauled out 12 gallons of water for cleaning and disinfecting, and various other odds and ends that were needed out there.

maple2It took me two days to get things ready for tapping, and today was the day. I walked out to the trees carrying 7 buckets, taps, and covers, in addition to my cordless drill and hatchet, and worked my way through the trees. When those buckets were used up, I snowshoed back to the shack and got another 7. I did about half this morning, and the rest this afternoon. Some were gushers when I drilled the hole, and some were still pretty dormant.

Every time I do this, I come away from it refreshed. It is hard physical work and no mistake. But the day was sunny and even a bit warm. The deer trails were still evident, and I even heard my first Canada Geese of the year while out there. Spring has turned the corner.

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