So there I was, ready to wax rhapsodic as spring returned, but winter threw a hissy fit.
Sap flow, which had been sporadic at best, slowed to a trickle and the sugar house on Bobo’s Mountain went cold. That’s the way the season had been, with a few warmish days and good flow alternating with late snows and unseasonable chills. Boiling one run to syrup and waiting for the sap tank to fill again might not seem so bad, but sugaring season can end abruptly and each run could have been the last as far as anyone knew.
To and fro it went (and still goes, for that matter), swinging from spring to winter and back, with the arch fired up to boil when enough sap was available.
Lovely in late afternoon, with low sun throwing long shadows through the steam, the sugar house on Bobo’s Mountain embodies the romance of Vermont Maple as friends and family gather for fellowship and a taste of sweet syrup, but the crowd thins considerably long before midnight rolls around and the last syrup of the day is drawn off. I’ve been but a helpful distraction, lending a hand at my leisure, but my friends Skye and Tina have been at it late most every day, boiling and bottling every drop of sap that comes their way.
Well, maybe not every drop. After weeks of fits and starts the tipping point was reached this weekend and the trees could no longer hold back. This video of the sap tank overflowing, taken on Sunday (April 14) with Tina’s phone, speaks for itself:
It’s going to be a busy few days on Bobo’s Mountain! The official blog of Bobo’s Mountain Sugar can be found here, and I am sure a new post will be up once they’re no longer swimming in sap. You can also visit their page on Facebook here. They’ll be looking to sell what they’ve made soon, so stayed tuned!
Meanwhile, back on this side of the valley …
An entire winter’s accumulation of snow sits on top of the ice covering the lake, alternately melting and refreezing but not draining. Midway through April, a soft pliable layer of icy snow sits atop saturated slush, floating on top of the weakening ice.
In the coves the ice will still support a moose but at the edge of an island it has softened enough that an otter has clawed itself a hole for hunting, bringing crayfish to the surface for a snack in the warm sun.
The snow on the roads through the shady woods to the more remote camps needs some encouragement to go away so I chip away with the tractor, figuring that at least a lot more surface area is exposed to the warmth when I’m done. The banks just radiate cold.
Opening Day at Fish in a Barrel Pond is less than two weeks away. The members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society all hope the ice goes out in time but I have no control over that. All I can do is pick away at my lists and hope for the best but, gosh-darn it, these are fly fishers we’re talking about here so you can bet your bippy I’m doing everything in my power to make sure spring will be here when they arrive.
(See also, 2012’s Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Howler)