March 18

March 19, 2010

The adrenaline has worn off; we are living on vapor, waiting for a second wind, then a third and a fourth. I intended to write this entry last night after the boil, but at 2:30 am it was too much. And this is my second attempt to write yesterday’s entry because I was kicked offline by the dial-up connection we in Nebraska Valley must endure, and the draft disappeared.

What with all the fatigue and commotion I am quick to forget the ongoing miracle of the sap, the trees and the sun.

WEATHER: Very poor sugaring weather, low’s in the mid-thirties, high near 60. It feels like May.

SAP STATUS: Still running, but it resembles milky whey.

SYRUP STATUS: Dropped to Grade A Dark Amber. Gallon count nearly 2300. We speculate on whether or not the season is crashing or if we will get a shot of cold weather in time. People ask, “Is it a good sugar season?” We won’t know til it’s over.

CORRECTION: Some of you may have noted that Penn Station is not on K6 but at the top of K7.

THE HILLBILLIES: From L: “These two trees are not far from Penn Station but down in the city you’d never know they existed. They are at the top of a steep wanderlust line that goes through nothing for a ways. Then you see them, healthy but scraggly, dancing away at the top of the knoll, all moonshined up.”

SEVEN DAY NITER PRIMER: Thursday. Backyard sugarmakers, tapping just a few trees, may filter out the niter with cheesecloth draped over a colander. A more sophisticated apparatus is the filter tank. This tank is a high, rectangular metal box.Inside, three thick felt cones hang from a frame like upside-down dunce caps. You take paper filters, like coffee filters but in the shape of the dunce caps, and fasten them to the felt cones with clothes pins. Then you pour the hot pail of syrup into the cone and close the lid. You can hear the syrup dripping onto the bottom of the tank.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “In thirty-five years I’ve never seen a sugar season like this one.”

MUSIC TO BOIL BY: Ladysmith Black Mambazo