Recently I read a census about the 2012 maple season in the US and Canada and overall it wasn't pretty. Almost every producer and region was way down in production primarily due to the historically warm March. The sap was flowing like crazy but the buds were swelling just as fast and that it put an abrupt end to season.
The fact that we had no snow cover meant tending to the weekly inferno which burned beneath the sap pans a special concern. I kept water buckets and a hose at my side during the entire season.
Thanks to the great group of online syrup producers at www.mapletrader.com I was alerted to the very early sap flow in late January. With my operation being so small I was prepared and tapped the last weekend in January. Sure as shootin' the sap was flowing eagerly and I gathered and boiled 5 separate batches totaling maybe 3.5 - 4 gallons for the season.