Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

March 18, 2016

Hit the Reset

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 9:35 pm

“It sure has been a strange spring.” I’ve said it myself, and heard others say it. We say the same thing every spring while we’re in the middle of it, and perhaps we say it to make ourselves feel better. Meanwhile, the maple trees just do what they always do.

It got pretty warm early in March. Warm enough that I had some average days and some very good days about a week ago. For those two good days, I got around 40 gallons a day, and had to gather twice each day to keep up. We boiled and boiled in the shack. Then the weather stayed above freezing for a couple of nights, and I think the trees were thinking about budding. I had 5 buckets of yellow sap that left a bitter after taste. I dumped that sap out.

maple3Then a couple of nights ago, it got cold, and stayed below freezing during the day. We had a big wet snowstorm. Many trees bowed down, and several broke. I think they’d lost their winter stiffness, and were vulnerable. The maple trees decided as a group to give it a rest. I’ve checked the buckets each day, and if I see anything, it is a small sad puddle of frozen sap in bottom of the bucket. My hope is this will reset the clock for the trees, and they’ll put off budding for several weeks now, while providing sweet sap during the days.

maple2During maple season, these little rests should not be squandered. Once the season gets back into full swing, there won’t be enough time to even sneeze. I had 2 gallon jars of near-syrup in the back of the refrigerator, so I spent several hours messing up the kitchen getting them boiled down to syrup and put into bottles.

maple1Is there any sweeter sound than that a canning jar makes when the lid seals? The house is quiet and we’re all thinking about other things when from the kitchen, you’ll hear a “PING!” I’ve never had a jar fail to seal, but I still mentally count them off as I hear them go off. It is a fine sight on the kitchen counter as the day’s canned jars line up and catch the light.

The long range weather report shows more cold weather tomorrow, and possible above freezing the next day. If I don’t write for a while, you’ll know it’s because I got busy again.

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