Maple syrup and maple sap line maintenance and up keep for the year
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2011 Sugar bush maintenance and repairs have been successfull!
So far this year, after lots of hard work and determination fixing the lines after having tapped the existing 10,000 taps on the farm, the sap is running well. Some major adjustments had to be made to the main lines which carry the sap down off of the mountain down to the pump house where it is collected in order to remove some sags, but now things seem to be working smoothly. The original installers of 6,000 of the farm's taps had left low spots in the main 1" and 1 1/2" lines allowing sap to pool and be drawn out only by leaks on the far side of the sags. I have done a bang up job fixing even the smallest leaks, so the sap couldn't draw from the sags, and we were loosing large sections of the farm's taps. About 3,500 or 4,000 in total. I hadn't noticed this problem last year, as it was my first year maintaining the lines, but I have been researching information and applying my knowledge in various areas of expertise gathered throughout the years to get to know the system inside and out. And this year we will be gathering the most sap possible.
This year has proven difficult in many areas. We received way over our normal amount of snow, so hiking up and down the Farm's mountain tapping all of the trees was a feat in itself. I managed to do at least 8km per day and up to 13km a day while snow shoeing up and down the mountain through all of our snow. Take off the snow shoes and it was a near waist deep hole to climb out of. And I did manage to get our first section of new main lines which will run to the next 10,000 taps up and ready.
And then there was the wild life. Moose are among my top favorite animals, but not in my sugar bush. They are obviously quite large to be very graceful around the many lines strung out all over the farm, so you can imagine what happens. And other then taking out a couple of line, they also leave three to four foot deep hole in the snow almost big enough to swallow up my snow shoe or a ski on my snow mobile. They have made it interesting, but it was very nice to see them, looked like two big cows with their calves, and they were around for about three week. In the end they were not afraid of me at all. But the skunk and the raccoonwere. It was closer than I would have liked when I seem to have stumble upon the little skunk's home and he or she was getting a little air outside the den. I was no more than ten feet away when we both realise we were both there and retreated in opposite directions. I waited for the spray, but thankfully nothing came. And the raccoon was a little rough around the edges. Crouching down in a mud puddle to hide from me didn't help his situation either. I left him be. Other than that, I've seen a snowy owl which was quite beautiful, and many tracks left in the snow from rabbits, martins and other little creatures. I do work alone in the forest every day, so they add a nice little bit of excitement to a sometimes dull day.
The mistakes of the season were not without consequence. When I was driving the snow mobile through one of the many trails from canister to canister and found myself lying on the ground after having been ejected off of the back of the snow mobile by my eye socket, I made a mental note to clearly mark all of the cross wires holding tension the lines. Thankfully the wire got me just above my eye. And I also got launched backwards when relieving the tension off one of the main lines in order to be able to adjust it. While I was loosening the wire I noticed it seemed quite a bit tighter than most, and when it came off, I went flying back. I felt my feet sliding for a split second and then I was airborne until my back hit the ground below the little bank I flew over while my feet were up in the air. Kind of a rough landing, but could have been much worst, I missed all the stumps. If only someone had been taking video of me when these things happen, they would have been funny to watch.
And now the entire farm is running to the best of it's ability. I still have minor daily fixes to make, but nothing major. Should have a great output of nice maple syrup this year for many to enjoy.