Every year we wait for the crows to return. Before we tapped our first tree, we never noticed the crows would leave for approximately four to eight weeks out of the year. Most times, they’re back by February 14. This year they were late.
We hung our buckets after wading through 3 to 4 feet of snow. The temps were climbing to the lower 40’s. Thankfully the snow was starting to compact, making the track up the hill easier to climb.
We tapped five trees and hung six buckets. I was delighted to see the sap running from the tree as soon as the tap hole was drilled.
Starting tomorrow, we’ll probably go and collect the buckets and replace them with others. (We use gallon water jugs for our buckets.) The ones we take will be placed in the freezer until we have enough sap to make a batch of syrup.
The first time we made our syrup – almost 5 years ago, we didn’t know what to expect. We boiled and boiled it down waiting for the sap to change to an amber color. It never happened. When I took what was left upstairs to cook on the range, the sap was still crystal clear. By this time, there wasn’t much left. I cooked it down more, until there was hardly any left.
Little did I know that our sap was grade A++ Vermont Grade A++. Apparently, when the color is clear, it is top quality sap. Had I known, I would have stopped before there wasn’t much left.
This year I will know to stop processing when the temperature of the sap reaches the range of 185 – 219.