I don't pretend or think that I know it all about maple sugarmaking. Seven years does not make an expert. What I have learned is that, like children, each season, is different. Like a first born, our first season was anticipated and loved -- but also overwhelming accented with periods of sleeplessness. I had my husband pull the taps when there was over 60 gallons of sap stockpiled in the garage and our set up could only process 13 gallons during an 18 hour day.
The next two years, better prepared and knowing what we were doing, ha ha ha, we made it full season. But we were still outside, and subjected to the elements, so it was cold and very slow going. Somedays, when that wind blew, that pan just couldn't hold a rolling boil. Then we built the sugarshack. Protected from the wind, snow and rain, having limited but effective lighting, the next three seasons lulled us into a state of complacency. Resembling identical triplets, they had their subtle differences, but being all good, came and went with record yields and over the top enjoyment.
Now we have what I am calling the problem child. Through no fault of our own, it is uncooperative and moving to its own drummer. Same shack, same beloved pan, same burner, same trees -- but not the same weather. For three days there has been no sap. The daytime temperature barely kissed 40 while the night time refuses to drop below freezing.
I had hopes for a run next week. The weather channel showed warming to 50 and below freezing nights up until two days ago. Now, the days are still slated to be warm but the nights are coming in above freezing. Stubborn child. Still I am hopeful for another huge run. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow the buckets will brim over once again. Bringing a smile to this maple sugarmakers face.
So time and patience will tell. We will continue to check the taps (bone dry this morning) and squeeze in the boils into the family schedule. Today's event might be the last of the season... Still maybe sugarmaking, like parenting, pays off in the end, sometimes.