St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Signs

Although I haven't had my first woodtick or mosquito bite of 2013, spring is showing some sings of getting here eventually.  The snow in the open areas has almost all melted, and in the woods, it is thinning out quickly.  The maple sap continues to run faster than we can cook it.  

Pussy Willows in the swamp
 Scott thinks he heard a few frogs in the pond this afternoon, but until I confirm it, it isn't official.  

Finally got back to working on the 1970? Cub Cadet lawn tractor.  I had put a new battery in it, and decided that the gas was plugging up.  Bought a line filter at the auto parts store, put it in and shot a bunch of starter fluid in the carb and it started up. Had to fiddle with the needle valves to get it to run smoothly, and it did plug up a couple of times in the needle valve, but eventually got running pretty smoothly.  
  It gave me a chance to try it on the slippery hills with the "new" rear tire chains.  I cut down the pair from Dad's 1938 Chevy, hanging in the shed since he bought the 1951 Chev Powerglide DeLuxe.   The chains worked great--instead of getting stuck on the least little wet spot, now it goes through the mud holes, up the steep hills and even pulls a trailer.   Heck of a deal--a new set of chains cost $60 bucks.  Dad, a thrifty man, had hung the old but good chains on the garage wall, next to the WWII metal shell box, to await  the chance to be recycled.  

Enough sap on hand to keep us cooking 4 days, with more in the woods and probably some to run tomorrow.  I think we will collect sap tomorrow afternoon and pull the buckets too.  The warm weather means you can't store sap--it ferments.  One year I had 250 gallons in the old farm bulk tank that actually turned white and had sort of a jellylike white layer on the bottom of the tank before I got to cooking it.  It turned out almost black and had a sort of biting molasses and vinegar flavor--not really usable, but interesting.  Still have 3 cases of 12 ounce bottles waiting for that customer who prefers robust flavors!
 Got to go now, seems to be a mosquito hovering around my laptop computer screen, occasionally landing on my stockinged foot, tasting it.  Just seeing one flying around gives me the itchie-twitchies.