Clear Sweet Sap

With several years of maple syrup making under my belt, I’ve become somewhat of an authority about the topic among my friends. Many folks are interested in the subject, and can tell from the bags under my eyes when the season is in full swing. So they ask questions, and I do my best to answer. I look them in the eye, puff out my chest, and tell them how it is. The topic this season was the warm spell we had early on. I got about a week of sap production, and then the trees gave cloudy and/or yellow sap, and then slowed to a trickle.

The Red Maples and Poplars budded and blossomed. I told everyone that would listen that the season was over. Once the buds come out on the Red Maples, that is it. Apparently, the Sugar Maples didn’t listen.

Yesterday I went out to pull my taps. I had bucket after bucket with decent amounts of clear sweet sap. I tasted some of it, and it would have made very good syrup, in my opinion. Unfortunately it may have been sitting for several days since I’d moved on to other projects, and hadn’t checked for a while. And I didn’t know if there would be enough to justify starting up the evaporator again. So I proceeded to pull my taps and dump several buckets of good sap.

A couple of lessons were learned. The trees know what they are doing, and even a multi-year observer of their behavior is only a good guesser. And also, in future years, I’ll keep making the rounds even when I’m sure the season is over. The trees are smarter then I am.

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