We had a great time in our old fashioned sugar bush. We discussed the importance of temperatures oscillating below zero Celsius at night and above during the day so that there is alternating between sucking up water from the ground during the night and pushing out sap during the day. It was too cold for any sap flow on our walk that day. For more on this process and how Carbon dioxide is involved, see this article on sapflow.
We looked at how we tap about 3 feet up on the sunny side of the larger trees, ideally under a large limb. And we talked about the 40:1 ratio of sap to syrup. Then we watched the evaporator at work boiling and concentrating the sugars from the sap collected during the week.
Several degrees below zero, but sunny, some of the items on our winter scavenger hunt were hiding so we didn’t see any geese or ravens but we did find winter damage, moss, ferns, metamorphic rock, beech trees, evidence of squirrels, and woodpecker holes. After visiting a very old maple, entirely hollow up the main trunk and covered in moss, we headed back to sample some maple syrup: the first boil of 2016 and the last of 2015. It was a close contest but I think first boil of 2016 won by a few votes.
Written by Telsing Andrews.