March 15

March 16, 2010

WEATHER: 30’s by night, high 40’s by day, overcast. The sap is still running.

TO BOIL OR NOT? Some days it is a hard call. Today we gambled that the run would be slow and we would have room to spare in the sap tanks. This relentless season is taking its toll and we need to catch our breath. So we decided not to boil. But the sap ran surprisingly well this afternoon, and all the tanks are full at 10 pm, with the sap still running. Instead of sleeping, L. must start up the RO (reverse osmosis machine) soon and monitor it every couple of hours all night. If only it would freeze tonight as forecast and choke off the run.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “No rest for the weary.”

SEVEN DAY NITER PRIMER. Monday:   Niter is what you don’t get when you purchase a gallon of maple syrup; like coffee grounds, it stays behind in the filter. Every time you boil sap, either in a canning kettle in the kitchen or in a modern evaporator, stuff precipitates out of it: niter. Sometimes it resembles sand, hence the common name for it, sugar sand. The quality of the niter changes day to day and year to year. Sugarmakers consider niter a nuisance for two reasons: it burns onto the sap pans and it clouds up the syrup. They devise ways to filter the hot syrup so it flows clear when you pour it over your pancakes or vanilla ice cream.

MACRO: Hillsides taking on a reddish purple hue.

MICRO: Red maple buds are round, red and swollen. As always the red maples are ahead of the sugar maples.

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