Archive for the ‘Farm updates’ Category

MA Maple Weekend

In celebration of the state-wide MA maple weekend, the Hardwick Sugar Shack will be open Saturday and Sunday this weekend, March 16-17, from 11-4. We will be boiling sap, to make great syrup you can taste! The weather has made for a slow start this season. We are about 1/2 the production we are usually at this point. This week looks really promising—with freezing nights and day temps in the 40’s. Fingers crossed!

MA Maple weekend 2019

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I love the plop, plop, plop of sap in the bucket. Listen closely and you can here the sap flow increasing as the sun comes out from behind a cloud.

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Turkeys join me for lunch

Today the wild turkeys that call the Hardwick Sugar Shack home stopped by for an afternoon visit. Take a look at what they ate for lunch…

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Tapping has begun!

2-9-09-007Yes, its been a long winter here in the Northeast. In fact, we still have these huge icicles hanging off the front of our house. Nonetheless, I know spring is right around the corner because Joe began tapping trees this weekend!

We have about 1000 taps at this point, and adding more every year. I still remember when we used to tap a few trees around the house and boiled the sap for hours and hours on the stove. I miss that humidifier in my house, even though it made for a messy kitchen.

The collection tanks are still sitting in back of the sugar house. Joe will start putting those out this week after he’s done tapping (he has only about 300 taps left to go). Cindy Fitzgibbon of Fox 25 news is forecasting another nice warm up Wednesday and Thursday of this week, so it’s conceivable that Joe could be boiling this week. Yippee!

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This is the time of year that Joe shifts gears from construction and spends more time in the sugar bush setting up lines, cleaning up tree debris, fixing damage from little critters, and doing all the things that get us in good shape for February tapping.

This year he’s got his hands full. That nasty ice-storm two weeks before the holiday season not only messed up our holiday sales (bah humbug) it also put a damper on season preparations. We had major clean-up from down trees–and still have lots more to go.

Below is a video of what we woke up to the next morning.

The night of the ice storm sounded like a war zone. From 1:00 a.m. until dawn, we were kept awake and on our toes with the popping, cracking, and busting of trees as tops snapped. In some cases, whole trees toppled. Joe had to chain saw our way out of the driveway.

We were lucky. Our house was spared and with the generator and wood stove we kept warm, out of the dark, and could take a hot shower. Best of all, we could flush the toilet (Alleluliah!). Some people had power outages up until Christmas.

One never knows what Mother Nature will provide. And that’s the same story for maple syrup production. People always ask us how we think the season will be (in fact, we just had the question today at the post office). No way to tell, we always answer. Joe likes to say that as soon as he thinks he’s got the season figured out, Mother Nature shows us otherwise.

Our plan is to finish clean-up, add vacuum to the 150 taps around the house, and start tapping in February when the weather is just right (when the trees are not frozen).

We’ll keep you posted on how our 2009 maple syrup season unfolds. 

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