Sap Day’s Eve, and All is Mayhem

by Tig Tillinghast

Yesterday warmed, and today we should be getting a good run, provided the wind doesn’t come up and knock down the sap. We took advantage of the slow flow yesterday to do some more sugarhouse fiddling, including getting the water going (more below) and arguing about how we should move maple syrup from the evaporator to the filtering and finishing units. The picture below shows Robert expressing his ideas on how we should do it while I give him my very open-minded look. Ellie took the picture because she thought we looked like gesticulating rappers. She said all I needed was a big clock necklace around my neck.

[We are not rapping]

Our water pipes froze underground over the winter, so we called up our local plumber, Dave Hauger. Rumor had it that he’d home-made a special device that would snake down a water pipe, emitting hot water along the way to melt the barrier. He arrived and set up what we quickly called the “Hauger Auger” and set to work.

[Dave and his “Hauger Auger,” along with Bone behind him conducting a maple syrup prayer]

Meanwhile, up in the woods, Ellie sought out, and found, vacuum leaks in the Hubbard Hill bush. She took these shots, the one above being a nice shot of the east face of Hubbard Hill, which very clearly wants to grow maple. The one below is of the tracks of a little critter sidling up to a pole-size sugar maple and then attempting to girdle it by eating the bark around the base. This is one of the two main reasons it’s tough to regenerate sugar maple in these woods, the others being the profusion of whitetail deer.

Tonight, we boil.