This week, even with the extremely high heat I actually packed more syrup. In the next few days I’ll pack more. Yesterday I emptied a 40-gal stainless steel barrel of Amber syrup. So far, I’ve packed some of all of the sizes I carry, half gallons, quarts, pints and half pints, but I’ve not yet finished the entire 40 gallons. It gets too hot working with 185-degree syrup, filling containers when the outside temperatures are in the high 80’s and low to mid 90’s. For that reason, i only pack up to 15 gallons and then I need to cool off. I did 13 gallons yesterday, and about 10 gallons today. I think I’ll skip tomorrow and do more on Friday and finish on Saturday or Sunday. When It’s cold outside I generally do bottling of 40 gallons in 2 days, when I was younger, I did 40 or more gallons a day when needed, but alas I’m no longer young enough to do that much.
On my final visit with my surgeon, I was told all stitches and staples had been removed, guess what… I have since been going to wound care every week. On each visit to wound care the Dr as removed more stitches or staples. Just last week he removed 1 more stitch, the week before 3 stitches and 2 staples. I have another appointment there tomorrow.
However I am doing much better. I finally got about half of my blueberries fertilized. Once I was well enough to drive the tractor, recent rains made the fields too wet, my 4×4 tractor with differential lock engaged struggled to gain forward movement and backing out of the aisles was not possible. I then, once I got the tractor out, checked into getting tire chains. That proved to be a no go. On my 2012 tractor the clearance from tires to fender is only 1.25″ and the lowest profile farm tire chains need a minimum of over 3″. The cab on the tractor makes it almost impossible to raise the cab and fenders.
Thus I waited until 6/14 and the fields were finally dry enough to spread the fertilizer. On the 14th I managed to get just over half of the fertilizer spread (on 4.5 acres) but then I had to rest. I use a tractor mounted spreader with a banding kit which throws the fertilizer out to the side, thus applying fertilizer to 1 row at a time. I managed to do 28 rows, each 300′ long before needing to get some rest (I’m still not back to 100%, maybe 40% or so and I can’t lift over 20#, Dr orders. I buy my fertilizer in super sacks and I use my excavator to lift the sack, suspend it over the fertilizer spreader while I open a tied closed spout on the bottom, then reach in with a knife and cut slits in the poly liner to dispense. When the hopper is full, I tie the spout tight and the excavator then sets the rest in the super sack back into the sugarhouse. Because of soft ground I only put about 275-300# in the hopper for each trip, otherwise I’d put about 400# in. That day I got 2 trips completed.
Since then it’s been too hot or raining. As of now it looks like Sunday will be my next chance. We have had more rain but nothing like the 2+” of rain in 1 day we had that caused to problems earlier. Had I not been forced to hold off because of my surgery and issues following it, I’d have been all fertilized in early March, but I didn’t feel well enough and once I did the Dr still said no. I finally got his OK on June 3, but the fields proved too wet.
For years I always thought my wet fields were because of clay, but then I had testing done by Soil & Water, they said my clay was not bad enough to cause it, but rather I had hard pan 24-30″ down that didn’t allow water to get thru. This summer I’ll need to try to break it up with a single point sub soiler. I hope once the fields are dry enough to pull the sub soiler that I can get it to break up enough of the hardpan to allow water to soak in better. I know it won’t get 30″ but I think it can get 26-27″ deep. For that I’ll need to add 2-300# of weight on the hitch to hold it that deep, then I’ll need to see if 36 HP can pull it. If it won’t I may need to get a 3′ frost tooth for my excavator to break it up.
Thank you again for all of your prayers for my recovery, they really meant a lot.
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.
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.
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.