poetry and prose about place

maple syrup ups and downs

with 12 comments

It may be a short maple syrup season this year.  The weather has not been cooperative.  In order for the sap to run, warm days are great, but the nights need to be cold.  When the temperatures fall below zero, the sap in the tree runs from the crown to the roots.  When the day is warm and sunny, the sap runs back up to the canopy.  If there is no cold night, no sap. 
So far we have collected about 40 liters of sap from our 10 trees and I have 3 bottles (each 500 ml or two cups) of lovely dark syrup!  This compares to 136 liters of sap last year on the same date, from 12 trees.



Cold night, warm day


Icicles build

from the spile

sweet sickles of sap



© Jane Tims 2012

12 Responses

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  1. Oh! How wonderful that you have trees you can tap! We have planted sugar maples, but it will be years before we can think about tapping them.

    This has not been a good maple syrup season in my area either. The weather just didn’t cooperate.



    March 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    • Hi Robin. 4.5 liters of sap today and it was still running when my husband collected. I don’t think it will catch up to last year though. I learned today that a poor maple syrup season may be an indicator of global warming. Jane


      jane tims

      March 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm

  2. It has been a difficut season for sap this year. This post reminds me of my childhood home and the steamy sweet time we had each spring, boiling down the sap. Thank you for the post and the drawing.


    Carol Steel

    March 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    • Hi Carol. I am surprised at how many people here either tap their trees now or remember a time when they did! Jane


      jane tims

      March 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  3. I didn’t understand that cold nights were necessary for collecting the sap. Interesting!

    I also liked your illustration.


    Deb Platt

    March 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    • Hi. Thanks, Deb. I appreciate hearing from you! Also, once the trees start to flower, the sap can develop a strange flavour. I think our days of collecting sap this year are numbered, but we will see. Jane


      jane tims

      March 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

  4. Jane,,,how much time do you have to collect sap.? Philip’s family in Dean have a big maple syrup operation,,they open their sugar shack to the public every year,,then have their maple syrup festival. It is fantastic.! Keep up the good work Jane,,I’d like to know what you “can’t” do,,,I know what you won’t do.! Ha.!!! Love your works.! Drawings,,,writings,,thoughts,,everything.! Visit you on Wednesday,,,patsi.



    March 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    • Hi Patsi. We’ve had lots of fun at maple syrup producers in New Brunswick… they usually have a great breakfast and sometimes a sleigh-ride. As for us, we don’t have too much work with only 10 taps. My husband collects the sap with some help from me. The most time needed is for boiling down. And just standing, breathing in the steam takes lots of time too!!! Jane


      jane tims

      March 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm

  5. This is beautiful Jane.



    March 26, 2012 at 11:20 am

  6. Very nice drawing, Jane! I’m imagining “sweet sickles of sap.” I hope you get enough syrup to last you until next year…


    Barbara Rodgers

    March 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

    • Hi. We still have some from last year, so every bottle we get this year is gravy! Glad you like the drawing. Jane


      jane tims

      March 26, 2012 at 7:50 pm

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