St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Maple Syruping Lull

We put out about 75 buckets so far -- quite early but the warm temperatures are right for sap running.  We decided to wait on putting out more until they really are running.  Too much chance of the 5 - week hole viability period finishing before the sap run finishes.  Tap too early and the holes dry up and you miss late runs.  

We gathered about 1/2 gallon per tree (some had 1 gallon and others none) in the 5 days the buckets have been out, so we probably should have waited a little longer. 

Our sap shed improvements for this year include a new stovepipe that goes straight up instead of out the side--for better draft, and heat shields around the fire box to keep more heat directed at the pan.  Brought the 40 gallons of sap up to a boil to sterilize it so it will keep for a few days until we get another 100 gallons to begin cooking the first batch. 

With temperatures in the 50s and 60s, we couldn't resist planting a few peas and lettuce in the sand garden.  March 14th is surely the earliest we have ever tried it.  In 2012, Mom planted peas on March 30th and they grew fine.  The sand is not muddy and probably the ground is thawed below, although I haven't seen any fresh gopher mounds yet.  

Strawberries came through the winter green under the snow