Maple Syrup All Made; Now for the Cleaning (and Procrastinating)

by Tig Tillinghast

We produced 520 gallons on the farm this year ourselves, and bought in a bunch more from people who have maple syrup operations adjacent to ours. It’s not a large supply given the demand we’ve seen over the past year, but it’ll do.

We’re still cleaning lines, as usual taking us a lot longer than we thought. It’s enjoyable, though. Lots of critters coming out of the woodwork. The porcupine my wife calls “Humbledy” keeps a respectful distance, but is often seen waddling away. The frogs have set up their choruses, and we even went out late at night to catch them and other animals at their most active.

Here is a picture of a peeper peeping. It’s actually very, very hard to figure out where they are, even as they’re peeping right in front of you. Very frustrating, but Ellie was able to point out this one.

That same night, we witnessed the strangest noises – one being a bull moose call we hadn’t heard before, and the other (identifiable only after searching around on the internet for some time) was a haunting beaver call. Here is a link to the moose call, with a researcher making the bugling in the beginning, and the funny whipsaw sounds being the response that we heard out in the woods. When you get to this page, click on the “Researcher calling a bull moose” link. And here is the beaver noise , that we had so much trouble identifying. It was so lilting and uncertain, we’d assumed it was a bird.

This is the beavers’ dam, one of about seven in a series that cause a head of water roughly 25 to 30 feet above the natural pond.

We were here at night with flashlights, mostly looking for amphibians like salamanders. One of the beavers shadowed us for a couple hours, slapping his tale every five minutes or so. At one point I actually got splashed.