I scaled back my already rinky dink operation after being beat up from last year. Earlier this month when I was collecting sap a co-worker said to me "last year I thought you said you're never doing this again!" Well there is something special with this labor of love. Don't know if it's being outside early in the morning and in the evening or is it seeing wildlife while you catch a moment sitting between splitting wood, adding wood to your fire, ladleling, filtering, ect. Maybe its seeing the sweets of your labor being poured by friends and family over some Vanilla Ice Cream. Yeah, maybe that's it. Whatever draws me to it I keep coming back for more.
My trees were tapped by January 28th and the sap was immediately flowing. With the evaporator tweaked and fine tuned, she burns beautifully and boils down between 8-9 gallons per hour which is pretty good for a steam pan set up.
As of February 21st my third boil is under my belt (and on the floor, on my hands) and to date the trees have been pretty generous for me. But others tell a different tale. Many are saying this year is a horrible season with little sap and low percentage of sugar. You all have heard the 40:1 ratio well its more like 50-70:1 That means a whole lot longer to boil and a whole lot of wood being burned. The trees I tap are for the most part large sugar maples and they are in line with the usual output.