Okay, today is March 1st and it was -9 at the homestead when I got up this morning. I'm not sure we had a dozen nights above zero during the month of February. Oh well, planning for Spring must go on. While it is a bit cold to do much outside, and of course all the snow inhibits outdoor activities as well, the next event will be tapping our maple trees for syrup. The best sap running weather is below freezing nights and warm days. We only tap 8-10 trees each year and they are not sugar maples but they still yield enough for our maple syrup needs for the year.
Traditionally we have boiled the sap off on our wood stove in the house. But now that we are tapping more than the six trees we started with years ago it gets to be a pretty big mess to do inside. We purchased a two burner propane camp stove and will begin using that this year. It is necessary to have the two burners since I use a two kettle system to boil the sap. The first has the new sap in it and the second does the final boil down to the consistency and color that we want.
The system we use to boil our sap is pretty simple, not like the dozens of sugar houses that dot the landscape of Maine. Soon we will be celebrating Maple Sugar Sunday here in the state and many of these commercial sugar houses open their doors to the public so we can get a "taste" of how maple syrup is made. This year it will be March 23. If you are in Maine around that time plan on visiting one of the farms listed on the Maine Maple Sunday website.
Now if the weather would just cooperate!!!