|TAPPED MAPLE TREE WITH FULL SAP COLLECTION BAG|
|SOME LARGE TREES WILL SUPPORT TWO TAPS|
Friday, 8:00 AM. 31 degrees F at the ferry dock, 28 on the back porch. Wind ENE, variable and calm. The sky is clear, the humidity 88%. The barometer is falling, currently at 29.96" and predicting snow for the weekend.
The sap is flowing in the sugar maples, as evidenced by the full collection bags on the trees at the old courthouse (now the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore headquarters). A Bayfield School class began tapping trees there as an educational project several years ago and it has evidently been quite successful. Ideal conditions for the sap to run are night temperatures below freezing, followed by a warm sunny day. Clouds and low temperatures will shut the flow off as surely as if by a faucet turn. Sap can run as early as February and as late as early April, depending upon the conditions, and is really not predictable, nor is the whole process fully understood.
Using bags rather than buckets to collect sap is a great improvement, as they are easier to handle and aren't contaminated by bugs and dirt. Approximately two dozen trees have been tapped at the old courthouse, which should yield enough sap that when boiled down ought to amount to at least several gallons of maple syrup.
I haven't heard from friends Andy and Judy Larsen if they will be up from Milwaukee for maple sugarin'. We are all getting older and the task doesn't get any easier.