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March 22, 2017
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 9:35 am

I’m a little late starting my blog for 2017 due to deaths in the family.   Weiss Woods lost 2 sappers this year - our brother Bruce Michael Weiss (age 61) died of cancer January 23rd and our father W. Eugene (Gene) Weiss (age 92) died on March 6th. The remaining 10 members will carry on but we will miss their help and support that has resulted in the business we have today. 

The weather started out cold today (17 degrees) but high pressure is moving in so the sap will flow later today.  As of today we are off to our best start ever -  849 gallons of syrup made from 33,000 gallons of sap.  The syrup made so far is mostly light amber. Another large run will get us close to last years total which we considered to be average (1,275 gallons of syrup).  We tapped on February 26/27 for the tube lines (same date as last year) and March 4th for the 449 bags.  The Harmon woods was damaged by the July 5th windstorm but we were able to get the trees cut up and lines fixed  before the season started.  We probably lost up to 100 trees and many others were damaged.     For improvements this year Brent procured a larger transfer tank (580 gallons - price was right,  zero cost) for hauling sap from the home woods to the sugar house. The previous tank held 425 gallons so this will save Jim one trip per day.    We also re did 4 sections in the Harmon woods.  North Central, Slough,  South entrance and the Sugar Shack.  We put on new 36″ drops (Jim made all of these during the winter) with clear 5/16″ spiles,  add in new trees and reroute the lines to create better sap flow.   Our guess is that we changed about 400-600 drops in the Harmon woods.  The total of taps using the new 5/16″ spiles is now up to about 3000 taps.  These are replaced each year to ensure the tap hole doesn’t heal during the sap season. (The sap season ends when the frogs in the pond start croaking).  We also added about 25 taps on bill hill in the home woods.  We purchased another monitoring camera ($400) for the home woods.   This allows us to take a picture from our cell phone at any time day or nite to monitor the amount of sap in the tanks and to ensure all the lines going into the tanks are in tact.       
PROBLEMS: We averted major disaster on March 17th.  While Brad, Dave and Brent were checking the Harmon woods we found the main 1″ line had come apart after a wind blown branch hit it.  The sap was flowing onto the ground instead of into the Weiss Woods tanks. Brad made a temporary fix with a 5/16″ white line connecting the 1″ lines until Brent arrived with a strap ratchet to pull the lines together.  We believe we lost between 500 and 1000 gallons of sap.  We also had to reconnect 100’s of drops to the clear spiles.  The drops  had come off  after the trees started to push sap after an extended cold snap: (5 days) that left all of the lines with frozen sap.   The bags were also losing sap since the spiles were either driven too far into the tap hole or the washer was pushed too far to the end which caused the sap to not flow correctly into the bags but went onto the ground.        

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