Yesterday I finished improving the mount for my vacuum releaser at my sugarhouse woods. Last year it would sometimes dump sap, and then lock closed and not dump the sap the next time it filled up. A releaser is a piece of equipment that allows the vacuum to be shut off from the sap collection chamber so the sap can be drained and flow into the sap tanks. In my case it is a double releaser meaning there are 2 collection chambers, as one gets full, the vacuum is switched to the other chamber and last season one side sometimes got stuck closed. After talking with the manufacturer it was determined the unit was not level enough. My new mount addresses that, the level can be fine tuned during the season if necessary.
Yesterday, also my brother in law (BIL) checked my leased woods to see how much damage had happened, since we have had lots of high wind events this year. Surprisingly there was only a little damage, far less than last year. There were some limbs on the on the lines but none large enough to require a chainsaw, he said I can just use my pruning saw to get those off.
Today, I’ll be cleaning the sugarhouse in preparation for the maple season and tomorrow I’ll check the lines in the woods around the sugarhouse and make the necessary repairs. I should then be ready and start tapping Saturday and Sunday. Then next week I’ll be doing repairs and then starting to tap the leased woods. If all goes well and the weather is right, I may be ready to start boiling sometime the following week.
Last year my BIL tapped and worked with me all season, unfortunately he is in surgery today and will be on very limited lifting orders for at least 6 weeks, so I’ll be alone this year for the harder work until early March. It will then seem good to get his help back because historically mid to late march has been the busiest time for sap and boiling. It’s always a rush to get the last minute work done to start the new maple season, and very enjoyable once the boiling begins.
Also, we are opening our sugarhouse for Maple Weekend on March 17-18 & again March 24-25 from 10 AM til 4 PM. That would be a madhouse without his help. Going back to 10 years years ago, we had a crowd all day for the 4 day event, with 12-15 visitors in the sugarhouse at a time (no more room) and lines waiting of 20-40 more outside. A 1 man band could not handle that alone.