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Going in for surgery

I have major surgery tomorrow. Any orders placed from now until a couple of days after I get home, will not be shipped until about the 3rd day. I may be in the hospital for 3-7 days, thus orders may be unprocessed until about April1-4 depending on when I get back home. At that, I will be on a no lifting order for 6-8 weeks, but I can coach my wife to get the orders ready and to ship them.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

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I think I’m gaining on my battle in surgery recovery. For the last 4 Wednesdays I’ve had an appointment with the surgeon who “put me back together” after my stitches failed following the original surgery. Each of the return visits he has removed some staples or 1 or 2 of the long stitches relieving stress on the line of staples at the incision which is about 9″ long. Today he removed 2 of the long stitches (about 4″ long, going from side to side) and 4 or 5 more staples. This Friday I have an appointment at a wound care center. The surgeon said they might remove the rest. If they don’t I have a return visit with the surgeon again next Wednesday.

I’ll be glad when this is all healed and I can resume work. Among other things I need to spread a half ton of ammonium sulphate on my blueberries, I’m already 2 weeks late. For that I don’t need to lift, my excavator lifts the bulk sack over the spreader and I loosen the spout to fill the hopper, then I retie the spout shut. I can load 500-550# at a time, thus 4 trips. To spread it takes about 75-90 minutes barring complications. Back before my original surgery I bought the half ton of ammonium sulphate because the prices were climbing fast. The price back then was already up 35% above last year

I AM feeling better, but before my stitches failed on April 18 I felt better too. The surgeon has me wearing a compression belly band to minimize the chances of a rupture of the stitches.

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Please note, price increases

After all of our costs from jugs, to fuel and all other costs that go into maple syrup, I found it necessary to raise the prices of my maple syrup, effective immediately. I tried to hold the increase to as little as possible, but each size did go up $.50 or $1.00 depending on size of the jug. In these hyper inflationary times I don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold these prices.

Empty jugs have become very difficult to get, if not impossible at any price except a few places who bought a stock ahead so they could price gouge the buyer, in many cases those have just about doubled the price, jugs I could buy for $1.95 or $2.90 last fall depending on size are now upwards of $3.75 and $4.50 for my 2 larger sizes and I saw one vendor who had $4.25 and 5.59 on those same 2 sizes, all by full case lots.

These times are hard to keep up with. The only reason I was able to keep my price increases this low is because I bought enough jugs in all of the sizes I use last September to last me until about Spring of 2023, in fact I bought more than I had storage for, and I still have a few cases, all paid for at my dealer, in storage, with my name on them. Somehow I could see some shortages coming 7 months ago and bought what I could at that time. I’ll finally have room for them in my storage after my recovery from surgery this May. I just spoke with the dealer 2 days ago, he’s OK with that.

That dealer is truly a good friend, I first met him when I was tapping on a steep hillside one January a few years ago, when he stopped his tractor along side the county highway and walked across an open field about 200′, thru about 18″ of snow and up the steep hill to introduce himself, letting me know he also makes syrup and is also a dealer. My dealers before that were 35 minutes drive in one direction or 25 minutes in another direction from my sugarhouse. Here I had a dealer just 10-12 minutes away. In fact, as I cut back on how many taps I put in, he bought one of my leases, tubing system and all except my big sap tank (He put in a 1000 gal SS tank, where I’d had a 850 gal SS tank.)

I just have to hope the jug shortage is over before I need more jugs, and that fuel prices come back down, for all of our sake. If they remain where they are today my next price increase will be considerably larger than this current price increase, if they actually climb even higher, nobody will be able to buy pure maple syrup except the very rich.

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Correction on grade

Maple syrup darkens slightly every time it’s heated, the Amber barrel I was packing darkened just enough that it changed from Amber to Dark. In processing it I heated it to about 175 to filter it, then after filtering it the temperature was down to about 135 as it was pumped into the bottler. To bottle, it needs to be 180-190F, I heated it to 185 and then tested the grade (color), it was then Dark at 49% light transmission. Amber is 74-50%, Dark is 49-25%. In the heating to filter and then heating it up to bottle it had changed from 52% down to 49%. If I get a chance in by Wednesday, I’ll try to pack more Amber. However, if I don’t get it done by Wednesday, I’ll be laid up until late May from having surgery, and a no lifting order.

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I’m finally catching up.

Today I filled a barrel and got the bottler filled too. Tomorrow I’ll be packing more amber syrup.

I ran into a problem with my tractor, which set me back 2 days. It wouldn’t start. Check battery, it’s good, check battery cable clamps, one is bad, broken on one of 2 bands around battery post. (I don’t like those cheap cable clamps) I remove old clamp, attach new clamp (lead this time) but still won’t start.

Next I check the main fuse, opps, the fuse holder fell off in my hand, corroded wires. Call dealer, he doesn’t carry replacements, I go to NAPA, needing a 50A inline fuse holder and fuse, bought it at one store, had to drive 5 miles to another branch to get it, (Or wait 2 hours and it would be delivered to the first store. Then, of course, it’s a different design, so I had to cut off the original connectors, then crimp the new fuse holder into the wiring, (I really don’t like crimp connectors) but the tractor started. I’ll put that on my to do list, for summer, find a main fuse holder that can be attached by tightening screws and not crimp connections. However it must be small, there’s not much room for it to fit in the available space. I really doesn’t seem right for a 2012 tractor to need this, my 1981 tractor (but no loader to lift barrels) still has it’s original wiring fully intact.

Anyways, I’m finally ready to do syrup again, it’s sure a good thing I’m retired and don’t have a regular job to get in the way.

As I said above, I’ll bottle some amber tomorrow and tomorrow evening I’ll update the store inventory counts. I will be packing half pints, pints, some quarts and some half gallons, all in amber. So far I’ve gotten no dark yet, but it will likely change to dark soon, especially since the temperatures are on the warm side. As soon as I get some dark, I’ll fill in that inventory too and update my inventory on my website. By the way, this year’s amber is fantastic tasting for sure.