I was all set to start writing an article entitled "Arlow and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Sap Season", or something like "Short but Sweet", thinking that this was the shortest sugaring season ever. With the Spring-like weather that popped up flowers and made people wear shorts, we thought it could be all over. The buds started popping on the swamp maples, the pussy willows were out, and we even heard peep frogs chorusing their mating call. We took the Mustang out for a drive on one of those warm nights, thinking we'd catch dinner at The Summer House in Southwick, but when we got there it seemed like the whole population of 20 miles around was there too, with a huge line hanging out the door. Everyone had Spring fever in March ! Well, as we should know in New England, the weather is always changing, especially in March. I think it was Mark Twain who said something to this effect "If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes". There is a freeze forecast for this weekend, and since the warm spell wasn't quite enough to pop the buds on the sugar maples, Arlow is intending to capitalize on it. He is out tapping some more, and re-tapping the first tapped holes so they will continue to run. He actually ran out of tubing and any new taps will have to put on buckets.
I remember the days of bucket collecting when I first met him: Pick up the heavy pails off the hook carefully so you don't spill any sap, dump it into a collecting pail, hang the bucket back up, carry the pail to the collecting tank, and do this for each and every tap hole. Much more labor intensive than collecting a tank by sucking it all up with a pump. Luke will probably like collecting this way, as he is so excited about sugaring. How much sap we get on this next run remains to be seen of course, we can never count our jugs before they are canned. If we do get another provision of sap, we can continue to host our Open Houses on Saturdays. Once the buckets and tubing are washed and put away, and all the tanks are put in storage in the 2nd floor of the sugarhouse, we will move on to the greenhouse work.