Our First Maple Syrup of the Season

We made our first maple syrup of the season yesterday.  We have not tapped this early ever in my time on this farm.  The weather has been warm for January and the snow not very deep.  We now use spout extenders with check valves in all our taps (see previous blog on tapping) so we no longer worry about taps drying up before the weather ends the season.  Upshot is that we can tap earlier.  This year we started tapping on January 24th.  It takes us a week or so to tap and then almost a week longer to get leaks out of our tubing system and sugar house ready to process sap.  We missed most of a run that was around February 1 but we got most of sap that ran this last week.  We’ve made syrup on 2 days this week.  Not large amounts of sap as the temperature drops below freezing at sunset and doesn’t come up in the morning until 10:30 or so but the sap did come.  Now we’ll be off for a week or so as we are having a good cold snap.  The old timers (is that me now?) use to say that a good cold snap early in the season can often induce the trees to sweeten the sap on the next run.  I have seen it happen so we shall see.  Below is a sample of what we made yesterday (about 33 gallons).