We finished up everything today for the 2017 sugaring season. Now it’s time to relax for a few days. . Jim, Vinnie and Dave finished pulling taps and spiles from the Harmon Woods - Jim appears to have fully recovered from his hip surgery last fall since he went down into the deep ravine NW of the shed and made it out by crawling on his hand and knees. Jim, Brent, Vinnie and Brent rolled up the harmon woods drain lines onto a spool. We left 4 posts where the pickup tanks were so we know where to place the tanks next year. Next year we are planning to put vacuum systems in place to help us monitor the woods for leaks, clean out all of the sap from the tube lines when runs are done and at the end of the season and to also to increase sap flow when the weather conditions are not ideal. Jim plans to take the home woods sap tank wagon down to pittmans and they will setup the zero milk tank to hold the vacuum. We’ll have to come up with a plan for the Harmon Woods though. We will also continue to redo the tube lines by removing old drops and adding in new trees. We have about 2 years worth of work yet to complete this.
Yesterday was the first day we heard the frogs croaking which confirms that the soil temperatures have risen enough to end the sugaring season even though there are some ideal sap days forecasted through next week. . The cleanup of the equipment continues. - Jim and Dave picked up the three 1500 gallon tanks and accessory equipment (ladders, brushes, pump) from Patnode Valley and brought them back to Jim’s farm for cleaning. Dave goes inside the tanks and uses a pressure washer to thoroughly clean the tanks. Jim also finished up washing the sap bag holders in his dishwasher. We are on track to complete the cleanup by the end of this coming weekend.
The season is over. Pittman’s advised us today that the trees have turned so the sap is not usable anymore and it’s time to pull the spiles out of the trees. Weiss Woods total was 1,130 gallons of maple syrup made from 45,524 gallons of sap. Of the total the Harmon woods was 905 gallons of maple sap made from 36,648 gallons of maple sap. Sugar content was down from .224 to .214 and sap was down 3,472 gallons so it was a little below average year for us. It was a very good year for operators using vacuum systems since there was a lot of moisture in the ground. We will be doing a cost analysis of putting vacuums systems into our 2 woods for next years sugaring season. . The reason our sap was down as compared to the operations using vacuum was that we were not getting freezing nites and there wasn’t much sunshine so the sap only flowed at about 20% as compared to flowing after a freezing nite. The vacuum systems would continue to pull sap higher volumes of sap. Yesterday we collected our last sap of the season and we removed the 449 taps using blue plastic bags and the galvanized hangers. This took about 2 1/2 hours. Helping in the woods was Vinnie, Dave, Jim, Kevin, Kari and Liz. Today Jim and Dave started cleaning the equipment. 3 plastic tanks were cleaned with a pressure washer and put away. Jim used the dishwasher to clean the bag hangars and did about 160 so over 1/3 done. We’ll continue to clean up this week and plan to be done by Saturday.