Every year it seems a gamble as to when to tap the sugar maple trees. In years past, we have tapped them at the first sign of sugaring weather only to regret it a week later. Early this morning my husband checked the extended forecast. The temperatures for the next 5 days showed daytime temperatures above freezing with below freezing nights, perfect for a sap run. However, this warming spell is to be followed by some much colder weather next week. We must also consider that our hillside farm gets cooler temperatures than those farms in the valleys. After consulting with our neighbor, we decided to wait until next weekend to tap the trees.
Other farms in Vermont have already begun to boil sap. As the post lady delivered the mail today she stopped to chat with us about sugaring. She reported that all the trees were tapped on the other side of our mountain. Another neighbor told us that he has seen the smoke coming from some of the chimney pipes in sugar houses along the valley. But we were not tempted by these reports. Instead today was spent cleaning out the sugar house, uncovering the woodpile, running pipe lines up the hill, counting buckets and taps and enjoying the warmth of the sun.